Weston aunt who let nephew sleep in bed with registered sex offender spared jail

Benjamin Hayes is on trial at Bristol Crown Court

Benjamin Hayes is on trial at Bristol Crown Court - Credit: Archant

A Weston aunt who let her nephew sleep in the same bed as a registered sex offender has avoided a prison sentence.

A Weston-super-Mare aunt who let her nephew sleep in the same bed as a registered sex offender has avoided a prison sentence.

The woman, who is in her 30s, was given a 20-month sentence suspended for 18 months after pleading guilty to ill treatment and neglect of a child at Bristol Crown Court on Friday.

The court heard the victim stayed with his aunt infrequently over a number of months as there was limited space in his parents' home. The parents were not told a sex offender was living there with the aunt and another man.

The victim, who was 13 years old at the time, was sexually exploited over four months.

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He was given a 'coffee' to drink which made him fall asleep, then the sex offender would share a bed with him while the other man filmed and took pictures of the sex offender peeling the bed sheets away and partially exposing the child.

The victim was unaware this was happening until one time he woke up.

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He was then coached not to tell their parents.

The two men made disclosures about wanting to share the material with other people and were both sentenced in previous hearings.

The child's mother told the court: "What has happened has left a huge impact on our child and our family's lives, we have gone through many emotions and sleepless nights.

"I will not forgive her for what she has done until the day I die.

"It was her idea to set up the arrangement."

The woman, who has not been named by the Mercury to ensure the child's anonymity, was arrested in August 2017, and said she had 'done nothing wrong'.

Edward Hetherington, prosecuting, said: "You had responsibility for the boy, but you neglected him and this caused unnecessary suffering.

"It was obvious you realised immediately her family would be deeply unhappy with the arrangement, you failed in your duty of care."

The aunt claimed she 'kept an eye' on the child and was 'confused' as to how the boy ended up in the same bed as the man.

She said the two men were making her life uncomfortable and she wanted them to move out, but no efforts were made to get them to move on.

Judge Martin Picton said: "This offence is so serious. You put the child at huge risk and allowed two people to offend against them in the worst way. It has been a devastating ordeal for the family."

Mary Cowe, defending, said the aunt has mental health issues and was of 'good character, but had clear vulnerabilities which were taken advantage of'.

The woman was ordered to undertake mental health treatment and attend psychological sessions.

She was also ordered to undertake 25 days of rehabilitation activity requirement days and was made the subject of a two-year restraining order on the family.

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