Kent

Brett Connell jailed for step-daughter sexual abuse

Brett Connell Image copyright Jim Bennett
Image caption Brett Connell was jailed for nine years for sexually abusing his step-daughter Georgia Walsh

A man has been jailed for sexually abusing his 16-year-old step-daughter who killed herself weeks after reporting him to police.

Brett Connell, 36, was found guilty of 13 counts of sexual activities with a child, in a trial at Maidstone Crown Court.

Georgia Walsh killed herself in March 2017 leaving a note saying the stress was too much to handle.

Connell, of Clare Way in Sevenoaks, was sentenced to nine years in prison.

He was convicted of five charges relating to Georgia, and eight out of a further 11 unrelated sex offence charges.

Georgia's grandmother, Carol Sharpe, said more than a year after Georgia's death her family would now be able to grieve.

"It's like a bomb went off and it smashed every part of our family," she said.

"I'll never get over the loss of Georgia."

Image caption Georgia Walsh killed herself after reporting her step-father's abuse to police

The court was told Connell first abused Georgia when she was 13 years old.

He was arrested on 9 February 2017 and released on bail. Georgia died on 17 March 2017 when she was struck by a train.

The judge, Recorder Peter Guest told Connell; "The damage you have done to this family is incalculable. It is right to note that during the course of this trial you have shown neither shame nor remorse for your actions."

Connell was placed on the sex offenders' register indefinitely and also made subject of a sexual harm prevention order.

'Too much to handle'

Georgia told her mother: "He's done stuff. I wish had said something earlier", and begged her not to let Connell back into their home, the court heard.

The jury was told Georgia had seen someone taking a photograph of her through the bathroom window while she was having a shower, and Connell had been the only person at home at the time.

In her suicide note Georgia said the stress had been "too much to handle" and she hoped Connell would "rot in hell".

Det Con Michelle James from Kent Police said: "The consequences of Connell's appalling abuse could not have been more devastating.

"The tragic note left by his victim, before her death, detailed the unbearable stress and trauma he caused," she said.

"Before she died, thankfully she had showed incredible courage to provide her testimony to Kent Police."

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