Deaf woman who abused boy jailed after suspended sentence quashed
A profoundly deaf woman who sexually abused a boy has been jailed for five years after the Court of Appeal in the UK quashed her suspended sentence.
Julie Fellows, 30, who is due to give birth in January, was given a two-year suspended sentence at Worcester Crown Court in August after Judge Robert Juckes said jail would be wholly inappropriate and lead to complete isolation for her.
Her case was referred by the Solicitor General Robert Buckland and, on Tuesday, three judges agreed that the sentence was unduly lenient.
Lord Justice Davis said that, while the trial judge was entitled to give the fullest weight to Fellows's previous good character, her deafness, the imminent birth and potential significant difficulties for her in prison, he went altogether too far in departing to such a great extent from the sentencing guidelines.
"In our view, the sentence imposed simply does not reflect the gravity and sustained nature of all that occurred."
Fellows was convicted of one specimen charge of indecent assault and of sexual activity with a child.
She has always denied the charges - which related to when the boy was aged between six and nine and to a later period when he was between 14 and 15 - claiming that they were fabricated.
Lord Justice Davis, sitting with Mrs Justice Cheema Grubb and Sir Stephen Silber, said that the boy had been profoundly affected.
He added: "In our view, with respect to the judge trying to do his conscientious best in a difficult case, this sentence cannot be maintained."
He said that an immediate sentence of five years was appropriate and ordered Fellows to surrender to Hereford Police Station by 4pm on Wednesday.
Fellows, who is married, lives in Kington, Herefordshire.
After the hearing, Mr Buckland said: "I referred the original sentence as I felt that it did not properly reflect the severity of the case, particularly given how this offending has had a serious and long-lasting effect on the victim.
"I'm pleased the court has agreed that Fellows should serve time in prison."