Man jailed for sexual activity with a child who later died in suspected suicide (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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Man jailed for seven years for sexual activity with a child who later died following a suspected suicide attempt
A man was jailed for seven years today for sexual activity with a 14-year-old girl who later died after being found hanged.
As he put Bramwell Walls, 39, of Folkestone Road, Walthamstow, behind bars, Judge David Turner QC told him at Chelmsford Crown Court: "It is difficult to think of a case of worse sexual exploitation in terms of the overall consequences."
The court was told that Georgia Hedges was found hanging at her home in Osbert Road, Witham, in May this year.
She was taken to hospital, but died two days later.
Walls pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual activity with a child and one of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity between 1 January last year and 14 May this year.
Walls must remain on the sex offender’s register indefinitely and was also placed under a sexual offences prevention order.
These orders can curtail a convicted offender's movements, such as by banning them from parks or from near schools.
An inquest into Georgia’s death was told that she died from hypoxic ischemic brain damage - Brain injury as a result of oxygen deprivation - caused by compression of the neck consistent with hanging.
The inquest also heard how she had sent text messages to Walls threatening to commit suicide.
Judge Turner said of Georgia as he sentenced Wall: "She was obviously ill-equipped to deal with the distress in her life.
“The victim was clearly, obviously vulnerable. Less than 24 hours before she was speaking in texts and was in extreme turmoil."
Walls was a friend of Georgia’s father and had gone to stay at her home when she was 13 where a sexual relationship reportedly began between the two.
Walls’ counsel, Dermot Keating said: "He accepts sole responsibility. His conduct was unacceptable. I don't want to add to the family's distress."
Prosecutor, Sarah Przybylska said: "Georgia had texted Walls the day before her hanging saying 'if you don't talk to me, I'll do something...I'll do something I'll regret."