Ex-Highbridge councillor Joe Leach admits seven child sex offences

Joe Leach, who admitted taking indecent photos of two boys. Library photo.

Joe Leach, who admitted taking indecent photos of two boys. Library photo.

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A FORMER Highbridge councillor has admitted a number of sex offences against two boys.

Disgraced Joe Leach, 26, of Clyce Road, pleaded guilty to seven counts of taking an indecent image of a child between April 2011 and August 2012.

Leach, who stepped down as a town councillor in December 2012, faced at total of 12 charges but denied one count of sexual assault and four other counts of taking indecent photographs of a child when he appeared at Taunton Crown Court today (July 4).

Dressed in a dark suit, white shirt and gold tie, Leach spoke only to confirm his name and enter pleas and was warned he faces jail.

Speaking after the hearing, Leach told the Weekly News that what he did was a “stupid mistake” and insisted: “It won’t happen again, but I will just have to pay for what I’ve done in the short term.”

Although the ages of the victims were not mentioned during the hearing, Leach indicated afterwards that they were about 17.

The offences Leach admitted relate to two separate boys, while he denied all charges relating to an alleged third victim, also a boy.

Prosecutors now have two weeks to decide whether to accept Leach’s pleas or to pursue a trial on the five denied counts.

Judge David Ticehurst said: “In any event, I am going to order that a pre-sentence report should be prepared in relation to these matters you have pleaded guilty to. You must co-operate fully with the probation officer.

“Let me make it clear to you that all options are open to the judge that deals with you, including an immediate prison sentence.

“No promises are being held open to you by adjourning it for such a report.”

Leach was bailed until July 31 and was made to sign the sex offenders’ register before leaving court.

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