Febuary 2012

54-year-old ‘in fantasy world’ over teenager

A 54-YEAR-OLD man who became “obsessed” with an underage girl and was planning a sexual relationship with her was yesterday jailed for two years.

Council lorry driver Brian Flowers briefly lived “in a fantasy world” after the girl, who was described as “very vulnerable”, appeared to become infatuated with him.

Durham Crown Court heard they communicated regularly via Facebook, sent increasingly suggestive texts to each other as well as swapping intimate photographs of their private parts via camera phone.

He also sent her pornography to watch.

Although there was some intimate touching on liaisons between the pair, Flowers desisted from indulging in full sex with the girl, telling her he had condoms ready for her impending 16th birthday.

But weeks before the event, concern grew at the girl’s school about her behaviour and her mother was called in by staff. Details eventually emerged about the nature of her friendship with Flowers, who was then arrested.

He admitted being aware she had problems and claimed he acted in no other way than being “a concerned friend”.

Following examination of his computer and phone text history, he was re-interviewed and made no comment.

But, at an earlier court hearing, Flowers, of Edge Court, Gilesgate, Durham City, admitted meeting a child following sexual grooming, sexual touching, two counts of sexual activity with a child and causing a child to watch a sexual act.

Robert Adams, mitigating, told the court Flowers has no history of sexual interest in young people.

He said:“His obsession was with someone who was only just short of her 16th birthday.

“Had it taken place three weeks later no offence would have been committed at all.

“He should have restrained himself. His behaviour over a week demonstrated a spectacular fall from grace for a man who has led a hard-working life, with a wife and son.

“He was well respected and, perhaps because he was flattered that someone of her age and looks showed an interest in him, entered into a fantasy world which escalated out of control. She was equally enthusiastic and there was no suggestion of coersion.”

Flowers must sign the sex offenders’ register for ten years and was made the subject of an indefinite sexual offences’ prevention order restricting his use of the internet and forbidding unsupervised contact with underage girls.