June 2009

Newport man jailed for underage sex

A NEWPORT man was locked up after admitting having a sexual relationship with an underage girl.

Dale Whitehead, 19, was found in a hotel room in Newport with the girl after her mother reported her missing in September last year.

The youngster aged under 13 went to bed the previous night, but when her mum went to get her in the morning, she was gone.

Her mother tried to reach her through friends without any luck before reporting it to police, officers traced her to the Etap Hotel in Malpas Road.

When police went into the room, Whitehead was on the bed in just his boxer shorts, the girl was in her jeans and a bra.

Newport Crown Court heard forensic evidence from Whitehead was found on the girl’s clothing.

Whitehead, of Carey Road, who was 18 at the time of the offence, pleaded guilty to abducting a child, sexual activity with a child, possessing a class C drug, possessing an offensive weapon and failing to surrender.

When officers went to Whitehead’s home, they found a 5,000 volt stun gun and when he was arrested, police found £10 worth of cannabis on him.

Defending, Nigel Fryer said: “He understands now it was inappropriate, but it is not a case where Mr Whitehead has forcibly removed her from her mother, she went willingly.”

Mr Fryer said Whitehead had the taser to “show off” and didn’t know it was illegal to have one.

Whitehead has seven previous convictions, including assaulting a police officer and driving while disqualified.

Mr Fryer told the court Whitehead suffered from mental health problems in the past, but was taking medication for it.

Sentencing, Judge Roderick Denyer said: “The age between 18 and 12 is unlawful and it’s a major gap, inevitably involving some exploitation of her.”

He was locked up for two-and-a-half years for sexual activity, two years for abduction, 12 months for having the taser, three months for possessing cannabis and one month for failing to surrender, all to run concurrently.

He was also ordered to register as a sex offender for ten years.