THE nephew of serial killer Rose West was jailed for eighteen years today after ‘preying on’ a 12-year-old girl for ‘his own sexual gratification’.
Steven Letts, 38, plied his young vulnerable victim with cocaine, cannabis and vodka after she asked him for a cigarette in the street and he offered her a joint.
The girl was with her support worker but went off with Letts after the encounter in Gloucester city centre on March 6 this year.
The trial heard Letts and the girl went back to his flat and when she became tired and went to sleep in Letts’ bed, he climbed in and began ‘cuddling’ her before initiating sex.
Letts had pleaded not guilty to abducting and raping the girl in his flat between March 6 and 8, but he was found guilty of both counts at Gloucester Crown Court and today jailed for 18 years.
Letts was given eight years for rape of an underage child and ten years for another offence of aggravated burglary, to run consecutively.
His Honour Judge Tabor QC described Letts as a ‘volatile man and a compulsive liar’.
Describing the burglary first, the judge said: ‘It was a burglary at night where three men, armed and disguised, forced their way into a home with a young couple and two children inside.
‘Mr Letts was one of the men who went upstairs and issued horrible threats.
‘Mr Letts was a principal offender. He took a leading role and has a previous addiction to drugs, which the group were looking for.’
Turning to the abduction and rape of the girl, the judge said: ‘The girl did speak and look much older. Her language would have made a sergeant blush.
‘I am satisfied Mr Letts did believe she was 15. However, that is the only mitigating factor I can derive.’
He rejected Mr Letts’ defence that he felt a duty of care to the girl because she was being abused by her carer.
‘He deliberately isolated her from her carer and gave her cocaine, cannabis and alcohol. To say he felt a duty of care towards her is nothing less than remarkable.
‘There is no suggestion to the contrary that sex was non-consensual.
‘She was highly vulnerable — paradoxically one of her vulnerabilities was she looked much older than she actually was.’
The judge added: ‘I have no doubt at all that in his current state of mind he is a dangerous mind. The length of his sentence will give those in charge time to deal with this.
‘He will have to register as a sex offender for life, with all that entails.’
The girl’s rape came to light when she asked a social worker ‘how long it’d take to find out if you are pregnant’.
A statement from the girl said, ‘It went from cuddling to just, like, too far,’ and the sex lasted 30 minutes.
The court heard the sex ‘started to hurt’ the child, who wanted Letts to stop but felt guilty asking because he had earlier provided alcohol and cocaine.
When Letts was later arrested, police found DNA matching the girl inside his underwear.
Summing up the case two weeks ago, Judge Tabor read the girl’s statement.
It said: ‘He kissed me and I said I cant do this because I’m only 15.
‘He told me sad stories like a couple of months ago he tried to strangle himself. I think he said that so that I’d feel bad and kiss him.
‘I did tell him I was 15 [instead of 12] because I thought I had more of a chance of getting drink and drugs.’
Letts claimed he was a ‘good Samaritan’ who had helped the girl when she was upset, and denied having sex with her.
Letts is the estranged son of Rose West’s younger brother Graham, who unwittingly helped serial killer Fred West lay concrete at the cellar of 25 Cromwell Street.
Rose West is now an inmate at HMP Low Newton, Brasside, Durham, after being convicted of ten murders in 1995.
An NSPCC spokesperson for South West England said: ‘This is a disturbing case in which Letts preyed on a vulnerable young girl for his own sexual gratification.’
They added: ‘The victim has shown huge bravery in speaking out and we hope she is being given appropriate support to recover.’