Paedophile who received suspended jail term after prosecution branded 13-year-old victim 'predatory' is ordered to serve immediate two-year prison sentence following review

Court of Appeal judges have been asked to decide whether the punishment handed to Neil Wilson was unduly lenient

A paedophile who received a suspended jail term after the prosecution branded his 13-year-old victim “predatory” has been ordered to serve an immediate two-year prison sentence following a review.

Three Court of Appeal judges ruled that Neil Wilson's sentence of 12 months suspended for two years was "plainly and without doubt unduly lenient" after he admitted engaging in sexual activity with the child, as well as offences of making indecent images of a child and possession of an extreme pornographic image.

The 41-year-old’s original suspended sentence had been referred to the Court of Appeal by Attorney General Dominic Grieve. The new Lord Chief Justice Lord Thomas, sitting with Mr Justice Henriques and Mr Justice Blake, made the decision to quash that sentence earlier today, ordering Wilson - who was not present in court - to surrender to police in York by 6pm this evening.

The sentencing row began shortly after the case was heard at London's Southwark Crown Court in August when it emerged that prosecuting barrister Robert Colover had labelled Wilson's 13-year-old victim “predatory” and “sexually experienced”.

Following the case, the Crown Prosecution Service announced that Mr Colover had agreed to resign from the CPS Rape Panel of advocates, admitting his description of the girl was inappropriate. The CPS added, however, that Mr Colover "will remain on our general advocate panel and will still be instructed in other criminal cases".

A number of additional complaints have been recorded over Judge Nigel Peters' remarks that the girl's looks and behaviour would be taken into account during Wilson's sentencing. These comments are now being "considered" by the Judicial Conduct and Investigations Office.

At the Court of Appeal today, Lord Thomas said that how the prosecuting counsel "came to make the remarks he did is not a matter, as he is not present, we can investigate ourselves".

He added: "But in any event it is the duty of the court to sentence on the facts before it. Counsel is there to assist... The fact that counsel makes a fundamental error in introducing a factor that is thought to be relevant cannot in any way affect the power of this court in determining what is the correct sentence."

Lord Thomas went on: "This is a case where there is no dispute as to what actually happened. It is simply a case where the judge and counsel were in error that it was relevant, as a mitigating factor, that the sexual activity had been initiated by the victim. That was wrong."

He stressed that the law was there to protect those under 16 from sexual abuse, and agreed with the Attorney General that children who encouraged sexual activity needed "more protection, not less".

Speaking after the hearing, the Attorney General said: "Neil Wilson exploited a young and vulnerable girl... He pleaded guilty to sexual activity with a child, making indecent photographs of a child and possessing extreme pornography.

"I asked the Court of Appeal to examine whether the sentence was appropriate, given the seriousness of the offences, and I am pleased that they have found that this sentence was unduly lenient and have imposed an immediate sentence of imprisonment."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
News
Young Winstone: His ‘tough-guy’ image is a misconception
people
Sport
Adnan Januzaj and Gareth Bale
footballManchester United set to loan out Januzaj to make room for Bale - if a move for the Welshman firms up
Arts and Entertainment
Ellie Levenson’s The Election book demystifies politics for children
bookNew children's book primes the next generation for politics
News
Outspoken: Alexander Fury, John Rentoul, Ellen E Jones and Katy Guest
newsFrom the Scottish referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
News
i100
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
Arts and Entertainment
L to R: Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Captain America (Chris Evans) & Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) in Avengers Assemble
film
News
Nigel Farage celebrates with a pint after early local election results in the Hoy and Helmet pub in South Benfleet in Essex
peopleHe has shaped British politics 'for good or ill'
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams' “Happy” was the most searched-for song lyric of 2014
musicThe power of song never greater, according to our internet searches
Sport
Tim Sherwood raises his hand after the 1-0 victory over Stoke
footballFormer Tottenham boss leads list of candidates to replace Neil Warnock
Arts and Entertainment
Sink the Pink's 2013 New Year's Eve party
musicFour of Britain's top DJs give their verdict on how to party into 2015
Voices
Strictly Come Dancing was watched by 6.9m viewers
voicesIt has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Arts and Entertainment
Roffey says: 'All of us carry shame and taboo around about our sexuality. But I was determined not to let shame stop me writing my memoir.'
books
News
i100
News
Caplan says of Jacobs: 'She is a very collaborative director, and gives actors a lot of freedom. She makes things happen.'
people
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Day In a Page

War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

The West needs more than a White Knight

Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

The stories that defined 2014

From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

Finally, a diet that works

Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

Say it with... lyrics

The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

The joys of 'thinkering'

Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

Monique Roffey interview

The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

How we met

Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

Who does your club need in the transfer window?

Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

Michael Calvin's Last Word

From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015