Portsmouth paedophile who was spared jail for touching little boy’s genitals is now locked up after sentence overturned

Picture: Ian Nicholson/PA Wire
Picture: Ian Nicholson/PA Wire
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A PAEDOPHILE who touched a boy’s genitals during a school reading session but was only given a community order has now been sent to prison after his sentence was overturned.

Former University of Portsmouth student Louis Meireles, now 21 but 20 at the time of the offence in December 2017, was surprisingly spared a term behind bars by recorder Sarah Vaughan Jones QC after admitting groping a seven-year-old boy before swearing him to silence, saying: ‘This is our secret.’

But after the sentence was referred to the Court of Appeal for being unduly lenient, judges agreed to overturn Ms Vaughan’s original sentence and lock Meireles up for two years six months.

The human physiology student, who was suspended from his studies, was initially given a 36 month community order including 200 hours of unpaid work following his sentence at Portsmouth Crown Court.

The court heard how the boy’s life had been ‘totally devastated’ after he was the victim of the indecent assault – with him suffering ‘nightmares’ and ‘closing-up’ following the incident despite having counselling.

Meireles, of Sheffield Road, Fratton, admitted one charge of sexual assault with a child under 13.

The child is now self-taught at home after the parents were made to feel totally abandoned and betrayed by his school.

Prosecutor Martyn Booth told the court of the harrowing episode: ‘The defendant volunteered through the university to go into schools and help children with their reading. While sitting in the classroom the defendant told the boy to lean backwards and keep the book on his lap.’

The child told officers: ‘He undid my trousers and put his hand down my pants and then told me to keep it a secret. It only happened once. There were other children sat in the corner of the room when it happened.’

Speaking after overturning the orginal sentence, Solicitor General Lucy Frazer QC MP said: ‘Meireles was aware of his feelings towards children yet still sought contact – committing a crime severe enough to warrant a custodial sentence. The Court of Appeal agrees that his punishment was too lenient and the offender will now be imprisoned.’