Bowie and McElhinney sentenced for Bexhill child sex offences

A man and woman from Bexhill have been sentenced after admitting sexual offences against a teenage girl they were responsible for training as an army cadet.

Dennis Bowie, 49, of Orchard Road, Bexhill, and Alice McElhinney, 33, of Cornwall Road, Bexhill, appeared at Lewes Crown Court on Friday (May 28th).

The court heard that at the time of the offences both defendants were adult members of the Army Cadet Force in Bexhill. Bowie was a Lieutenant and McElhinney was a Sergeant and the girl was a cadet in the unit.

Dennis Bowie.

Bowie, who had pleaded guilty to an offence of sexual communication with a child, two offences of sexual activity with a child, and also three offences of making indecent images of children was sentenced to a total of five years and two months.

The indecent images were taken from the Internet and are not believed to be related to any local children.

McElhinney had admitted one offence of sexual communication with a child, and two offences of sexual activity with a child. She was sentenced to a total of three years and nine months.

Bowie will be a registered sex offender for life and was given a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) to last indefinitely, severely restricting his access to children and digital devices.

McElhinney will also be a registered sex offender for life and was given a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) to last indefinitely, severely restricting her access to children.

Charges against Bowie of conspiracy to incite children into sexual activity, one offence of sexual activity with a child, and one of possessing an extreme pornographic image were not proceeded with.

The charge against McElhinney of conspiracy to incite children into sexual activity was also not proceeded with.

The prosecution, authorised by the CPS, followed an investigation by detectives from the East Sussex Safeguarding Investigations Unit into the offences which took place in 2018.

Detective Constable Anthony Luke said; “The defendants committed sexual offences against a young girl which were also a serious breach of trust in relation to their roles having responsibility for the care and welfare of young people.

“The court heard that three girl cadets in the same Unit had also been subject of personal and online attention from Bowie and McElhinney in a way which clearly breached ACF rules on contact between staff and cadets.”

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