Girl ‘gave up Army bid after abuse’

Published: Thursday 9th April 2015 by The News Editor

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A shy teenager gave up her hopes of joining the Army after her recruitment officer slapped her on the bottom, pestered her for dates and asked her “inappropriate” personal questions, she told a court.

The woman, who was 17 at the time, claims the sexual attentions of Army recruitment sergeant Edwin Mee – known as Jock – made her feel “very uncomfortable”.

He asked her if she was a virgin and waited until her mother had walked out of a meeting room where they were discussing a taster session to start training for the Army.

The alleged incidents happened in the 15 to 20 times that she met him, at first accompanied by her mother, at the recruitment interviews.

Speaking from behind a curtain, the woman, who turns 22 tomorrow, told London’s Southwark Crown Court: “He just smacked my bottom on the way out.”

She told the jury that “he did not say anything”, adding: “I was just very shocked and a bit overwhelmed. I did not know what to say. I was not expecting that to happen. I was speechless. I did not know what to say.”

Mee, 45, allegedly carried out sex attacks on 11 victims as young as 15 while working at an Army careers centre.

The woman said she did not tell her mother about the alleged bottom smack at first because her mother “thought so highly of Jock and always praised him” and she was scared it might damage her application.

The woman claims that Mee, who worked in the Croydon and Cheam regions of south London, pestered her with questions about her personal life, asking her about eight times to go out for a drink and whether her mother would let her stay at his house.

He would also “stare” at her chest during the interviews, she told the court.

She said: “He asked if I would go out for a drink with him. I said ‘no, maybe next week’ and tried to push it aside.

“He asked if I had a relationship and a boyfriend. He also asked if I was a virgin. I asked ‘why are you asking these questions, they are not relevant to my application?'”

On why he asked about her staying at his home, Mee allegedly told her “he would not be able to control himself once he had a drink”. She felt he was “very touchy feely with me”, she said.

She applied to join the Army in March 2011 but had abandoned the plan by December that year.

She said: “I just stopped training. I felt very uncomfortable about it. My interest was diverted by what I was experiencing – the unprofessionalism. It was just not somewhere I wanted to be near.”

Mee, a divorced father-of-five, is said to have carried out a series of attacks on women aged from 15 to their early 20s between October 2010 and September 2011.

The woman described herself as a “very shy” 17-year-old who was “still quite young” and would “just make an excuse up” to try and put Mee off.

Mee, of Tavistock Road, Croydon, south London, dressed in a dark suit with a light blue shirt and blue tie and with his grey hair tied in a bun, denies 17 counts of sexual assault, three rapes and one count of assault by penetration.

The woman told the jury she was “110%” certain that Mee had asked about her virginity.

Lisa Wilding QC, defending, claimed the incidents did not happen and suggested that when Mee found out they shared the same birthday, he only said “make sure you do not drink too much, it will effect your training”.

The woman responded sharply: “That is a lie.”

Published: Thursday 9th April 2015 by The News Editor

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