Army sergeant jailed for raping and spanking women at recruitment office
An army recruitment sergeant who served in Iraq and Afghanistan has been jailed for 11 and a half years for a string of sexual assaults on female recruits.
Edwin Mee, 46, was convicted of 16 offences including rape following a trial at London's Southwark Crown Court last year.
The Glasgow-born officer used his power to "abuse and bully" women as young as 15, who were mostly from abroad but based in Croydon, south London.
His campaign of abuse began by spanking women on the bottom and escalated to raping a vulnerable recruit.
Sentencing him, Judge Alistair McCreath told Mee he acted in a way that was "demeaning" and "distressing" for the victims, including one woman who had been abused "dreadfully".
The judge said: "The offences you committed were against nine young women, all of whom were seeking to join the army. All came under your direct control as a recruitment officer.
"It was a situation of real and important trust. What you did to each one constituted a serious abuse of that trust.
"You will be registered as a sex offender for the rest of your life."
Mee, with long white hair and a white beard, showed no emotion as he was sentenced.
The divorced father-of-five carried out a series of sex attacks on nine women aged from 15 to their early twenties in 2010 and 2011.
In total, he was found guilty of 13 sexual assaults, two rapes and one count of assault by penetration.
His trial heard that Mee would stay late at the careers centre and conduct interviews with applicants out of hours to "deliberately" target his victims.
He asked a 16-year-old if she had body piercings and wanted to see the piercing in her tummy.
Later he slapped her bottom and, when she complained, told her: "It's you who needs the army."
Another of his victims said she saw Mee as a father figure before he raped her.
Judge McCreath said the sexual assaults "set the context for very serious offending" against a female recruit who was raped.
He said: "To slap a young woman on the bottom, whether over the clothes or not, is to invade their privacy and is to act towards them in a way that is demeaning and distressing to them."
The rape victim had been taken to a "private place" and Mee "abused her dreadfully", the judge added.
Mee, of Tavistock Road, Croydon, served in Iraq, Afghanistan, Oman, Northern Ireland and Bosnia during his military career.
Following a tour of Afghanistan, he returned to his base in Germany suffering with post-traumatic stress disorder and attempted suicide, the court heard.
In mitigation, Jane Bickerstaff QC said Mee had also suffered a "psychotic episode" since his conviction in May last year.
She said: "A man who served his country for two decades in a distinguished way clearly suffered because of that. He continues to need treatment."
Ms Bickerstaff added that Mee, who has a three-year-old daughter, had been medically discharged from the Army in April 2014 with "adjustment disorder".
Judge McCreath acknowledged Mee had served his country well during military tours in "dangerous places".
Those tours had inflicted "injuries not visible" and there was "clear evidence" Mee suffered mental health problems, the judge said.
But the judge added that there was no evidence that Mee's mental health problems had "bearing at all on the offences that have brought you before me".