Woman who pretended to be man to sexually assault teenager ‘put victim through hell’

Georgia Bilham, 21, handed 24-month community sentence at Chester Crown Court on Friday

Tara Cobham
Friday 18 August 2023 14:34 BST
CCTV footage shows woman disguised as man ‘to prey on girl’

A woman who pretended to be a man to sexually assault a short-sighted teenage girl “put the victim through hell”, a court has heard.

Georgia Bilham, 21, has been sentenced to a 24-month community order at Chester Crown Court on Friday after she was found guilty of sexual assault by kissing but cleared of 16 other sex offences following an eight-day trial at the same court in June.

Bilham, from Alpraham, Cheshire, must carry out 150 hours of unpaid work and take part in 35 rehabilitation days. She was also given a restraining order, must sign the sex offenders register for five years, and was made the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order, also for five years.

Georgia Bilham, from Alpraham, Cheshire, had to sign the sex offenders register
Georgia Bilham, from Alpraham, Cheshire, had to sign the sex offenders register (PA Wire)

Describing Bilham’s “years of thousands of calculated lies”, the victim questioned in her statement to the court, read by prosecutor Anna Pope, “Is there any remorse for putting me through hell?” She said the ordeal she had been through had left her suffering nightmares, unable to eat properly and feeling scared in her own home.

Bilham’s trial was told she created an online Snapchat persona in the name of George Parry to trick the 19-year-old complainant into thinking she was a man.

‘George’ always wore a hood over his head, even in bed, while with the teenager, who, the court was told, is severely short-sighted. He claimed to be “paranoid” due to “his involvement with Albanian gangsters”.

Bilham had denied nine sexual assaults and eight counts of assault by penetration, all between May to August 2021.

Mitigating for Bilham, Martine Snowdon said it was clear there had been “deception” but said there was no evidence the defendant had pursued the relationship with the intention of committing a sexual offence.

She said: “She feels guilty, and she felt guilty at the time. It was a mutually supportive relationship – she is not a sexual predator. She worked as a care worker and has a very caring side.”

Sentencing Bilham, Judge Michael Leeming said: “You must bear your responsibility for [the complainant’s] continuing embarrassment and distress.

“This was a carefully crafted deception in which you created an entirely false persona.”

The victim in her statement spoke of “really struggling to move on”. She said she felt “sick, embarrassed, manipulated and deceived”, adding: “This has stopped me being able to go out with my friends. I suffer with panic attacks. I’m scared because she has shown no remorse for what she has done to me.”

‘George’, seen here in CCTV, always wore a hood over his head, even in bed
‘George’, seen here in CCTV, always wore a hood over his head, even in bed (Cheshire Police)

She said: “I thought me and George were in love, but it seems that it was nothing but a game for Georgie ... I should have had a choice when I was consenting to Georgia Bilham as a girl. Georgia Bilham took away my choice.”

During the trial, the complainant said after the first time they met in person that she messaged Bilham to say, “There’s something weird about you,” and blocked her on Snapchat.

But there continued to be an online “love-hate relationship”, which became “toxic” at times, the court heard.

Bilham said she believed her cover was blown after crashing her mother’s car into a hedge while out for a drive with the teenager on May 11 2021.

Jurors convicted her of sexually assaulting the girl by kissing her that evening.

Bilham told jurors she believes a police officer called to the scene revealed her true identity to the complainant after checking her driving licence.

She said: “I think they told her I was female. It was not George, it was Georgia.”

The defendant said from that point she believes the teenager knew she was really a woman.

Bilham created an online Snapchat persona in the name of George Parry to trick the 19-year-old complainant into thinking she was a man
Bilham created an online Snapchat persona in the name of George Parry to trick the 19-year-old complainant into thinking she was a man (Cheshire Police)

Giving evidence, the complainant’s mother said her daughter told her about seeing someone called George, who she said had social anxiety so kept his hood up.

Bilham admitted being caught up in a “web of lies” but denied getting a “buzz” out of deceiving the teenager, maintaining throughout that she thought the woman she had sex with believed she was a woman.

She told the court she had been “a bit of a tomboy” when she was younger and had a difficult relationship with her mother after her parents split when she was a teenager.

Bilham said she never wanted to change gender but questioned her sexuality and that her mother would “not be happy” if she was in a same-sex relationship.

Asked why she set up the fake Snapchat account pretending to be a boy, Bilham replied: “I just was not happy in myself. I just… it was just more like an escape. I don’t know. I was not confident in myself. It was a stupid thing to do. It was a way of not being me.”

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