A paedophile branded ‘predatory’ by a judge has been jailed for three years. Britnee Aitken, 47, was arrested and charged after two girls came forward to claim they were molested 10 years ago.
Her barrister told a court Aitken identified then as male and was now planning gender reassignment surgery.
One of the victims, then aged six, said Aitken, from Rochdale, had targeted the youngsters under the guise of offering to play board games with them. Aitken denied three charges of sexual assault and one of indecent exposure, but was convicted by a jury after a trial at Manchester’s Minshull Street Crown Court, and was also ordered to sign the Sex Offenders’ Register for life.
The offenses occurred after Aitken went public about a bizarre legal battle over a £30 fine imposed by police in 2008 for playing a Riverdance CD too loudly in a car. Aitken had refused to pay the fine and in the months that followed, he was pestered by demand letters and received six visits from bailiffs. The debt eventually rose to £270 because of administration costs.
On occasions Aitken said the bailiffs demanded entry at 7.30am, and shouted threats through the letterbox. A district judge, however, quashed the fine in the magistrates’ court in 2008.
The court heard the offenses against the girls occurred between July and September 2012, when they visited Aitken’s home to play games. Aitken identified as male at the time. Ben Berkson, prosecuting, said: ”The girls were five or six years old at the time.
”One described how the defendant rubbed himself against her when visiting his home on a number of occasions.” Mr Berkson also referenced an incident of exposure through a letterbox.
In a statement one of the victims said: ”I suffer flashbacks due to the abuse and I get angry when I contemplate and think about what this person did to me. What happened has affected my ability to form and maintain relationships with friends and family and the abuse has caused me to struggle with anxiety and anger management. I am concerned about these things will impact my life going forward.”
Aitken, who was charged in 2020, had no previous convictions, the court heard, but had accepted a caution in 2012 for having indecent pictures on a phone – an illicit ‘upskirt’ video of a girl aged seven.
In mitigation defense counsel Adam Roxborough said: ”These offenses occurred over a short period 10 years ago and there is no suggestion of any repeat offending since. During that time Miss Aitken has maintained a good work ethic as a recovery truck driver and led a decent life.
”She has fragile mental health and given her sexuality, she has suffered abuse on a regular basis. It is for her from her a daily issue. That, she hopes, would come to an end to an extent when she is able to have gender reassignment surgery and her plans for that were moving ahead for this year. Of course any custodial sentence would put that progress back considerably.
”She has to be punished but the question is whether that punishment should effectively cause such damage to her not considering the damage she has caused to others. She still does not recognize her guilt from her but a sentence of imprisonment could be suspended. It must be a difficult life for her to lead at the moment.”
Sentencing on Thursday, Judge John Edwards told Aitken: ”I bear in mind the difficulties you may encounter in a custodial environment but this offending was sustained, predatory and very distressing for these girls. It has had a significant emotional impact on one of them, she being vulnerable and impressionable courtesy of her age.
”You presented as an almost avuncular figure, happy on the surface to indulge those children with games, when your true motives were more sinister. You crossed a very clear boundary in order to indulge your attractions. Your caution plainly displays an interest in young children.”
Aitken was also ordered to abide by the terms of a lifetime Sexual Harm Prevention Order. One term prevents ‘loitering’ near schools or children’s play areas.
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