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Edwin Mee 'abused position to attack army cadets' in Croydon and Cheam

Edwin Mee Image copyright PA
Image caption Edwin Mee denies 17 counts of sexual assault, three rapes and one count of assault by penetration

An army sergeant abused his position to sexually attack and rape female cadets as young as 15, a court has heard.

Edwin Mee, 45, allegedly targeted 11 victims when he was a recruitment sergeant in Croydon and Cheam, Southwark Crown Court heard.

The jury was told he disregarded normal recruitment procedures to keep recruits to himself and that he interviewed applicants out of hours to "deliberately target" his victims.

Mr Mee denies all the charges.

'Gauged their vulnerability'

The Scottish soldier, who was also know as Jock, is accused of carrying out attacks between October 2010 and September 2011, Southwark Crown Court heard.

Mr Mee, of Tavistock Road, Croydon, is charged with 17 counts of sexual assault, three rapes and one count of assault by penetration.

The alleged incidents happened while he was working as a recruiting sergeant at the Mitcham Barracks Army Careers and Information Office in Croydon, the jury heard.

Prosecutor Rosina Cottage QC told the court: "This case concerns the abuse of trust and power by this defendant in order to bully and groom young women.

"He gauged their vulnerability in order to speak about sex to them, to touch them and most serious of all to rape those over whom he had established the strongest control."

The prosecution said Mr Mee's job was to screen applications and support cadets through the process.

The court heard that the process to join the Army consisted of three interviews, and the third should be conducted by a different person from the first two, but Mr Mee conducted all of the interviews with his applicants.

One of the complainants, who was in her early 20s when Mee allegedly began abusing her, fell pregnant when he raped her in a waiting room, the court heard.

The jury was told the divorced father told her to take off her clothes or that he would "cause problems for her".

She later discovered she had a ruptured ectopic pregnancy for which she was operated on, the jury heard.

The trial continues.

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