The victim of a Hailsham paedophile jailed for nine years last week for a string of child sex offences has praised the support networks that helped her following the ordeal.
Lee Matthews was sentenced on July 8 by Judge David Rennie at Hove Crown Court, having previously appeared at the same court in April and June when he had pleaded guilty to 22 charges.
One of his victims has since come forward and told the Herald, “I would like to say a thank you for all the help and support the child online protection team of East Sussex and East Sussex social services have given the victim and her family.
“They have been a huge support and credit has to go out to them for how they have helped us get through this difficult time.”
However, she added, “But laws need to change – these child abusers are walking our streets even when they have been charged with these serious crimes.
“He pleaded guilty in June 2014 and still he was allowed to walk out of a court back on our streets until he was sentenced on July 8.”
The charges against 32-year-old Matthews, of Howard Close, followed an intelligence-led investigation by the Paedophile Online Investigation Team (POLIT) of Sussex Police. Key to securing Matthews’ admissions to two of the most serious offences was new patented scientific work by Forensic Pathways Ltd on his mobile phone.
Eleven of his offences concerned a young girl known to him – one of sexual assault on a child, one of sexual activity with a child, two of causing a child to engage in sexual activity, four of taking indecent images of a child, and three of distribution of indecent images of a child.
Eleven other offences involved images from the tnternet – five of distribution of Internet sourced indecent images, five of making indecent images of children by downloading Internet sourced images, and one of possession of extreme pornography.
Matthews was also ordered to register as a sex offender for life.