September 2010

Fours years in jail for man who had relationship with teenager

A MAN who had an illicit relationship with a 15-year-old schoolgirl has been jailed. Legal Affairs Correspondent Rebecca Sherdley spoke to her mother about the family’s ordeal.

IF Steven Parker had failed to understand the anguish he had caused to the teenager’s family, he only had to look at her mother sobbing quietly in court.

She did not know the details of the relationship he had with her daughter until she was facing him in a courtroom.

Parker began the relationship with the girl towards the end of 2009, when he was 44.

Her mother first became suspicious when she heard that an older man had been seen kissing and following her daughter. She questioned her but she denied anything was going on.

Then, in the early hours of the next morning, the teenager woke her and showed her a letter.

In the girl’s mind was the memory of what Parker said he might do – kill himself if she did not carry on seeing him.

She penned the note to say she was seeing an older man who had kissed her.

“She was sobbing her heart out,” her mum remembered. “I read it and I sat there for two hours. I rang my brother and we went to the police station.”

As a family that generally talked about everything, her mum had noticed a change in her intelligent daughter.

“She was getting good grades before, but that changed. The standard of her work and grades dropped.”

When the girl was interviewed by police she told them that she knew Parker and they had started spending time together.

Parker was arrested and charged with five counts of sexual activity with a female under 16 and one of causing or inciting a child under 16 to engage in sexual activity.

At Nottingham Crown Court in June he pleaded guilty and was given bail, pending sentencing, with a condition not to contact his victim.

But a week later the girl’s mum received a phone call that led her to believe Parker, of St Paul’s Terrace, Hyson Green, was still in contact with her daughter.

The family followed her after she finished school. She got into a white Rover driven by Parker. As he drove off “at speed” with the girl in the front seat, her mum called the police.

Parker was arrested after another driver had to make an emergency stop to avoid a collision and his car mounted the pavement and hit a car.

He was charged with failing to notify police of a change of address, as required by the sex offenders’register, taking a child without lawful authority and dangerous driving. He pleaded guilty to these charges in August.

This week, Recorder Peter Joyce QC jailed him for four years and disqualified him from driving for two years. He will be on a sexual offences prevention order and has to sign the sex offenders’ register.

The judge said: “When seen [by the family] you drove your vehicle away from those who’d seen you picking the girl up. It showed complete contempt for the order to stay away from her and you were prepared to continue your self-indulgence in regard to this child.”

In his judgment he said Parker had corrupted her and blackmailed her by saying he would kill himself if she stopped seeing him.

Adrian Langdale, mitigating, said the offences followed the break-up of Parker’s 17-year marriage. “He has lost his work and home,” he said.

Mr Langdale said there was no coercion or threats in the offences. Taking a child without lawful authority covered a single act, he added.

After the hearing, Detective Constable Gina Farrell said: “Parker groomed this teenage girl to assault her for his own sexual gratification.

“At no time did he consider the long-lasting emotional and physical effects his behaviour and actions would have on this young girl.”

Graham Roberts, principal at Bulwell Academy, said Parker had worked providing security on the school gates for three days in November 2009.

Mr Roberts said: “As ever, our major concern is about safeguarding our students and all safety checks are always carried out on all employees.

“The checks were fine for him to be working but we were unhappy with his performance and asked that the security firm replace him.

“Clearly, we were not aware of these incidents at the time. They only came to light later.”

Jason Scriven, general manager at Rose Security, Bulwell, said Parker worked for the company for four months.

He said: “He worked there [at the school] for five days and there had been no complaint about his performance as far as we were aware.

“It was later brought to our attention he had been arrested outside of work hours for a personal matter.

“We made our own inquiries and as soon as we were aware of the alleged offence he was suspended and subsequently his employment terminated.

“He was CRB cleared and had a Security Industry Authority licence, which means he is fully vetted and licensed to operate as a security officer. We carry out an advanced security clearance on all staff working on sites where they may have access to children and or vulnerable adults.”