A British Army sergeant abused his position to sexually assault and rape cadets, causing one of them to become pregnant, a court heard today.

Recruiting sergeant Edwin Mee, known as "Jock", is accused of preying on 11 women and girls, aged between 15 and 25, who came to see him about enlisting.

He is said to have carried out the attacks at an army's barracks in Mitcham Road, Croydon, where the force's careers and information office is based, as well as his home.

At the opening of his trial at Southwark Crown Court today, prosecutor Rosina Cottage said: "This is a pattern of bullying sexual behaviour that was repeated again and again to the female cadets to make them feel that he had power over them and control over their future."

Some of his alleged victims came from overseas and Mr Mee, formerly of Tavistock Road, West Croydon, is said to have used their fear of deportation to lord his power over them.

One of the women, who was in her early 20s, had several appointments with the sergeant in which he allegedly made sexual comments towards her and pressed his body against her while she was doing a test on a computer.

The court heard Mr Mee later booked the woman, from Sierra Leone, in for a late appointment when there were no other people around, then raped her.

She said: "He told her to take off her clothes or else he was going to cause problems for her.

"He held her hands behind her back and twisted them so that it hurt, and he said he would only let go of her if she did what he wanted.

"She tried to fight against him and he continued to threaten her saying that he may do something stupid if she did not agree and in the end he told her that he had been to prison before for fighting over a girlfriend and she was scared.

"In the end she just submitted to what he wanted and he pulled down his trousers and pulled her down on top of him.

"He told her that she was a sweet child and ejaculated inside her."

She was taken to St Helier Hospital about a month later where she had to have an operation for a ruptured ectopic pregnancy.

Ms Cottage said: "She called the defendant and explained to him what had happened and all he said was 'I thought you were safe'."

In the case of another woman, Ms Cottage said: "He asked her for sex on the basis that he wanted it because he would help her to get her passport and pressurised her to the extent that she felt she would be compelled to submit to his demands.

"She asked if she could go and he has told her that he had control over her status in this country and she thought she would lose everything."

Prosecutors allege Mr Mee penetrated this woman with his tongue before raping her and then forcing her to give him oral sex.

And Ms Cottage said: "He told her that if she said anything, no one would listen to her, she would not have a job. She would have nothing."

With another recruit, who was 17 at the time, Ms Cottage said: "The defendant tried to establish a position of authority over her by saying that, should she not be successful in the recruitment process, she would be deported.

"He gave her to understand that the decision was in his gift."

Giving evidence from behind a screen, the first witness said she had been slapped on the bottom by Mr Mee on two different occasions when she was at the barracks for appointments.

The woman, who was 16 at the time of the alleged sexual assaults, said he had also asked her out for coffee.

Mr Mee's defence barrister Lisa Wilding put it to her that none of this had happened.

The witness said it had happened but admitted she had not reported it at the time and only did so just under two years later when asked about it by military police investigators.

Divorced father-of-five Mr Mee denies all 17 charges of sexual assault, three of rape and one count of assault by penetration.

He has now left the army and now lives in Scotland.