May 2011

Man, 36, jailed for having sex with ‘secret’ girlfriend, 15

A 36-YEAR-OLD has been jailed for having sex with a girl who had a “teenage crush” on him.

David Turnley had sex with the teenager once while she was under the legal age, two weeks before her 16th birthday.

Derby Crown Court heard that Turnley first met the girl at a social function when she was 14. The girl, who did not live in Derbyshire, found out his mobile phone number and sent him a text message, said prosecutor Mark Knowles.

Mr Knowles said: “After that they kept in touch and spoke daily on the phone.”

Five months later, Turnley met up with the girl and they kissed for the first time. Then two weeks before her 16th birthday she went to stay with him for the weekend and they had sex for the first time, said Mr Knowles.

“When she reached 16 she would often stay at the defendant’s house. He (Turnley) said he wanted to keep the relationship a secret.”

But the matter was reported to the police after the girl told some people about it.

Jailing Turnley for 16 months, Judge John Gosling said: “You were undoubtedly flattered by this girl’s attention but she was half your age and you should have had the strength of character to resist what was really a teenage crush.

“The law exists as much to protect teenagers against themselves as much as protecting them against people taking advantage of them.

“This relationship extended, albeit on one occasion, to full sexual intercourse and importantly she was only two weeks short of her 16th birthday and she was a willing participant.”

When Turnley, of Nottingham Road, Alfreton, was arrested and interviewed he answered “no comment” to the questions but in court admitted two counts of sexual activity with a child.

The court heard that Turnley had been 32 when the relationship began.

Simon Clarke, for Turnley, said it had been “a massive error of judgement”.

“This is a one-off type of offending not of the classic paedophile situation that one so often sees. He doesn’t represent a risk.”

Mr Clarke said that there was no doubt the girl “had feelings” for Turnley.

He added: “There is no relationship between the two now and there never will be again.”

Turnley was banned for life from working with children. He will also be on the sex offenders’ register for 10 years.