December 2008

Bereaved dad jailed for sex with girl, 15

A 39-year-old widower who had an affair with a 15-year-old girl has been jailed for 16 months.

John King of Corsham had started a sexual relationship with her a few months after his wife died.

But a judge who jailed the father of three told him that though the girl was a willing partner, the law was there to protect young girls ‘from their own impulses’.

Marcus Davey, prosecuting, told Swindon crown court King had met the girl earlier this year and spent time talking to her about problems she had experienced in the past.

A few months later he sent her a text message saying she could talk to him and she replied saying she wanted more than friendship.

Because of her age, King, who has two sons and a daughter all in their teens, told the girl that that was not possible, saying he could go to prison if anything happened.

But Mr Davey said: “Despite that initial response by Mr King he did nothing to end this young girl’s attraction to him.”

The couple then began to travel in his car to local beauty spots where they started having sex on the back seat.

On one occasion they engaged in ‘heavy petting’ while she was still dressed in her school PE kit.

Mr Davey said it got to the point where they were seeing each other every day to have sex and the teenager was bunking off school for the trysts.

The girl told a school friend about what was happening and the friend was so concerned she told a teacher, who contacted the police.

King was arrested in July, questioned by the police, and released on bail on condition he did not contact the girl while they continued their enquiries.

But in the following days the teenager approached him and he then bought her a mobile phone so they could keep in touch with each other and meet up.

Mr Davey said the phone was later examined and found to contain a number of explicit messages as well as indecent pictures of the two of them.

King pleaded guilty to six charges of sexual activity with a child. He denied an allegation of meeting a child after grooming.

Mike Pulsford, defending, said it was ‘a very sad case’ telling the court: ‘quite frankly, he fell in love with her’.

He said King had not looked for the relationship and the teenager had pestered him, leading him to ‘give way to temptation’.

Mr Pulsford said the King family had suffered greatly with the death of his wife and urged the court to impose a community order so his client could undergo a three-year sex offender programme.

But jailing King, Judge William Hart said: “It must be known that older men who succumb to younger girls like you did will go to prison.”

He told King: “The law has to protect young girls not only from the predation of men but also from their own impulses and the emotional immaturity of girls of that age.

“Girls may believe they are in love with older men and if they do such men must not take advantage of them.”

As well as jailing him he also banned him from ever working with children and told him he must register as a sex offender for ten years.