January 2010

‘Sexual predator’ jailed for abusing three girls

A former school caretaker sexually abused three young girls at the same time as attending a rehabilitation course for sex offenders, a court was told.

At Leicester Crown Court yesterday, Russell McNeish was branded a “sexual predator” and jailed for four years and four months.

In April 2008 the courts had sent the 56-year-old on a sexual offenders programme after police discovered 281 indecent images of children on his computer.

But at the same time, in a village in Hinckley and Bosworth, he was abusing three girls, aged between seven and 12.

The abuse started in 2005 and only finished when one of the youngsters told her mum in January 2009.

The court heard McNeish had touched two of the girls intimately beneath their clothes, taken inappropriate photographs of the third and exposed himself to one, who had run away in disgust.

McNeish handed himself in at a police station in Loughborough on January 30 last year after being confronted by one of the victims’ parents.

Mary Prior, prosecuting, said McNeish had been suspended from his job as a caretaker at Thornton Primary School, in 2006, after an allegation he had sexually abused a pupil.

McNeish pleaded guilty to seven counts of indecent assault, four counts of sexual assault, six counts of making indecent images of children and two counts of breaking a sexual offences order. Sentencing him, Judge Simon Hammond said: “I’ve a duty to protect children from sexual predators like this man.”

When he is eventually released, McNeish will be placed on the sex offenders’ register for life.

He will also be banned from owning a computer or camera and will be barred from ever setting foot in a vast swathe of the north west of the county, stretching from Barwell to Kirby Muxloe and Coalville.