'Senior member' of English Defence League jailed for sexually abusing 10-year-old girl

Far-right supporter gets 17 years in prison for grooming and assaulting victim

Tuesday 27 February 2018 18:22
The men deny all charges
The men deny all charges

A “senior member” of the far-right English Defence League has been jailed for sexually abusing a schoolgirl dozens of times.

Leigh McMillan, 46, groomed his 10-year-old victim with cigarettes and drugs before subjecting her to a “spiral of sexual abuse” during the mid-1990s, jurors at the Old Bailey heard.

McMillan attacked the girl as she lay on her mother's bed and warned: “You mustn't tell your mum - she'd be really upset.”

He assaulted the youngster around 100 times over a five-year period, the court was told.

Prosecutor Jane Carpenter told jurors the girl “felt as if every day was Groundhog Day” and described her own ordeal as a “spiral of abuse”.

In a statement provided to the court, the girl described how she “had not had control” of her own life.

McMillan was arrested in September 2016 and convicted of three counts of indecent assault, two of indecency with a child and one of attempted rape following trial last month.

On Monday, the judge, recorder Bruce Houlder QC, jailed him for a total of 17 years.

“What you did was entirely devoid of any form of consent,” the judge said, describing how McMillan had “deprived her of a natural childhood”, “ruined her relationship with men” and left her with a “terrible legacy” of abuse due to his “warped and persistent attacks”.

He was jailed for a total of 17 years and also made subject to notification on the sex offenders' register and a sexual harm prevention order indefinitely.

Anti-fascist group Hope Not Hate, which monitors the online activity of far-right groups such as EDL, described McMillan as a “senior member” of the organisation.

They said he was a “lead figure” in the EDL’s “Lee Rigby campaign – a campaign to use the soldier’s death for further hatred”.

Hope Not Hate also accused fellow EDL members of attempting to cover up McMillan’s abuse.

The EDL did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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