The former leader of an air cadets’ group in Hucknall has been warned he will be sent to prison after he admitted sex offences against a teenage girl.
James Dodd (42) was the commanding officer of a much-respected 1803 (Hucknall) Air Training Corps (ATC) squadron, which is based off Watnall Road.
In a dramatic development on the morning of his scheduled trial at Nottingham Crown Court, Dodd changed his plea from not guilty to guilty on five charges of sexual activity with a child.
And Judge Joan Butler told him: “The only option is custody. It is just a matter of how long.
“At least you have had the good sense to plead guilty -- if somewhat late in the day.”
Dodd, who lives on Masefield Avenue, Holmewood, Chesterfield in Derbyshire, originally denied the offences, which relate to sexual acts or sexual touching and date back to between January and September 2006.
It was said he felt the girl was not under-age. In fact, the girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons. was 15.
The judge queried the validity of the plea because, in a video available to the court, he had said to the girl ‘don’t tell anyone because I will probably be sent to prison’.
Siward James-Moore, in mitigation, explained that the change of plea arose from the wording in the charges that Dodd could not have ‘reasonably’ believed she was aged 16 or over.
“It was wilful blindness on his part, rather than deliberately ignoring,” said Mr James-Moore.
The case was adjourned until Friday 14th November when Dodd will be sentenced. He was granted conditional bail. Tina Dempster, prosecuting, told the court that he could expect to be jailed for at least four years.
Dodd, who wore a dark suit, shirt and tie, had to fight a heavy nose bleed while sitting in the dock.
Mr James-Moore said he ‘was suffering from a serious medical condition and had been under the care of a consultant for many years’.
The judge agreed to requests for a medical report by the consultant and a pre-sentence report by the probation service to be compiled.
The prosecution offered no evidence on a sixth charge against Dodd of possessing two indecent photos of a child, and a not guilty verdict was returned.