A social worker who tied a severely disabled woman to his bed before undressing her and filming a sex act has been jailed for more than seven years.
Ex-soldier Joseph Shaw, 28, invited the 21-year-old victim and her friend to his flat in Warrington after meeting the latter through dating app Badoo in the summer of 2018.
But after the friend had been picked up by her father, Shaw engaged in a series of sex acts with the victim – who could not consent legally to due to the extent of her learning difficulties.
Liverpool Crown Court heard today that the woman has a mental age of eight and an IQ in the bottom 0.1 per cent of the general population, causing a ‘significant degree of intellectual impairment’.
Ex-soldier Joseph Shaw, 28, admitted sexual activity with a person with a mental disorder impeding choice today
The victim rang subsequently rang her friend to be picked up and has been left suffering flashbacks and nightmares about the incident.
Shaw, who hugged members of his family before entering the dock, admitted sexual activity with a person with a mental disorder impeding choice.
He appeared shaken as he was sentenced to seven years and eight months’ imprisonment.
Peter Wilson, prosecuting, earlier told the court how Shaw initially met the victim’s friend – who also suffers from learning difficulties, although ‘not as profound’ – through an online dating site.
They later began exchanging sexually charged voice notes and video chats over WhatsApp, while Shaw also visited her at her flat on one occasion.
In the summer of 2018, the defendant invited the two women to his home and arranged for a taxi to collect them.
The three sat drinking beer in his bedroom, before the friend’s father picked her up and took her home – leaving the victim alone with Shaw.
He later admitted to police and probation officers that the pair ‘began kissing’ before he ‘tied her to the bed’, only freeing her when she asked to go to the toilet.
Shaw also confessed he had undressed the woman, the two had touched one another sexually and she had performed a sex act on him.
He took pictures and videos of the sex acts, but later deleted them.
Shaw then put a condom, but ‘got the impression she didn’t want to have sex as her body language changed’.
He then got re-dressed. but the victim phone her friend asking to be picked up.
Shaw appeared shaken as he was sentenced to seven years and eight months’ imprisonment at Liverpool Crown Court (pictured) today
Her father returned and found the woman stood in the street outside Shaw’s home.
She later told her mother after she got home that a ‘man did something to her that she didn’t want him to do’ and the incident was reported to the police.
In a statement read to the court on her behalf, the victim outlined how she suffers from flashbacks and nightmares, while she also occasionally wakes up crying and runs to find her parents.
She described how she ‘used to be outgoing, but it has changed her and made her quiet’.
The victim added: ‘Sometimes I break down in tears. I have all these problems, and to make it worse this man did this bad thing to me.’
Shaw, meanwhile, previously served in the army but was given a dishonorable discharge following a conviction for drink driving in 2018.
He then became a residential support worker for young people with mental disorders.
William Staunton, representing Shaw, said in mitigation that the sex offense came during ‘what was effectively a blind date’.
He added: ‘At the material time, the defendant was in a downward spiral. He had resorted to drinking, he had lost his place in the army – a post that was of immense pride to him.
‘This was in the aftermath of his world coming tumbling down – he lost that because he couldn’t stop his drinking.
‘He is remorseful and he understands the impact of what he did on the lady concerned.’
But passing sentence,
the Honorary Recorder of Liverpool Judge Andrew Menary KC said: ‘It is clear that she is a young woman who has very significant learning difficulties.
‘She is someone functioning with an IQ in the bottom percentile of the general population with a mental age of eight years and two months.
‘It frankly takes only a moment to appreciate that she has these difficulties. It would have been obvious to you in an instant.
‘You must have been aware she was significantly challenged in terms of her learning difficulties.
‘You have had struggles with your own mental health and experienced difficulties in the army – I have no doubt that the loss of that career was a significant blow to you.’
Shaw was told to sign the sex offenders’ register for life. He was also subjected to a lifelong sexual harm prevention order and was banned from contacting the victim indefinitely by a restraining order.