Paedophile chef freed from jail after seven weeks

FELIXSTOWE: A paedophile chef is today a free man – just seven weeks after being jailed for sexual activity with a child.

Anthony Braithwaite was sent to prison after a court heard he had tried to seduce an under age teenage virgin, but Court of Appeal judges sitting in London said he should never have been imprisoned at all.

His lawyers argued the sentence was too long because the touching had been over clothing and did not involve genitalia.

The girl – 15 years old – was also close to the age of consent.

Braithwaite, 38, of Shotley Close, Felixstowe, was sentenced to 21 months’ imprisonment at Ipswich Crown Court in September after he was convicted of sexual activity with a child.

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His sentence was overturned – and replaced by a conditional discharge – by Mr Justice Sweeney, Lord Justice Pitchford and Mrs Justice Slade at the Court of Appeal.

“Although the learned judge had the advantage of presiding over the trial, we can see no basis for the sentence that he passed, which must, therefore, be quashed,” said Mr Justice Sweeney.

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“In our judgment, he should not have been sentenced to imprisonment at all.”

Braithwaite, who had previous convictions, but none for sex crimes, was convicted of attempting to seduce the teenage girl while sitting on a bed at his home in 2005.

He gave her alcohol, hugged and kissed her, touched her thigh and tried to undo her trousers, but stopped when she resisted and said she was a virgin.

He drove her home, apologising on the way for what he had done.

Giving the judgment, the appeal judge said: “It seems to us that the only sensible course to reflect the exceptional circumstances here is to impose a relatively short conditional discharge.

“In those circumstances, having quashed the sentence of 21 months’ imprisonment, we impose instead a conditional discharge for 12 months.”

At the trial last month, Braithwaite also denied raping three girls aged between 14 and 15 between November 2004 and July 2005 and was cleared of all three charges.

n What do you think of this sentence? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail

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