Bishop's Hull paedophile Stephen Rice walks free from court

Somerset County Gazette: The scales of justice. The scales of justice.

A PAEDOPHILE who subjected a teenage girl to a torrent of sexual abuse has escaped a jail sentence.

Stephen Rice, 56, formerly of Bishop's Hull, consistently abused the victim in an act of “sexual perversion”, Taunton Crown Court heard this week.

Rice admitted three historic counts of indecent assault on a girl under 16 and was given a three-year supervision order and ordered to pay £3,000 compensation.

Judge David Ticehurst told a tearful Rice: “The effect this offence has had is incalculable. They are going to live with your sexual perversion for the rest of their lives.”

Prosecutor Mark Worsley told the court that Rice first abused the victim during the mid-1990s.

Rice gave her kisses and said he wanted to be her boyfriend and would inappropriately touch her for “20 to 30 minutes”, said Mr Worsley.

It was said the victim only spoke out last year when suffering from mental health problems before the police carried out an investigation.

Defending, Patrick Mason asked for credit for Rice’s early guilty plea during Monday’s hearing.

He said: “He is remorseful. He is somebody who does fully accept it and is appalled by what he has done and the effect on others.

“This was conduct which concluded 15 years ago.”

The Judge read an impact statement from the victim which said “every aspect of my life has been affected”.

He told Rice: “You ruined her life. You should be thoroughly ashamed of yourself.

“This (compensation) is in no way payment for your wicked actions. If you make any mistake from now I can tell you with great certainty you will go to prison.”

Rice, who is understood to now live elsewhere in Taunton, must also undertake the Thames Valley Sex Offender Programme.

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