January 2023

Wadebridge man forced himself on young girl on park bench

A 30-year-old man forced himself onto a 15-year-old girl and had sex with her on a park bench.

Joshua Humphris, now 32, was jailed despite claiming he thought the victim in the case was 16 and that it was her who instigated it.

Humphris, previously of Wadebridge but who has since left the area, appeared at Truro Crown Court to be sentenced for sexual activity with a child.

He had initially been charged with rape but this charge was dropped.

Prosecuting the case, Heather Hope told the court how around the time of the offence in February 2021 Humphris had offered to get the victim tobacco.

Messages were exchanged and he suggested she go round for a coffee which she thought was a bit weird.

On the night in question messages were exchanged and the victim agreed to meet Humphris for a roll-up cigarette. She agreed as she wasn’t allowed to smoke at home and walked with him to a local field.

While there he asked her if she had a boyfriend, a question she again thought was odd given the disparity in age.

Miss Hope described how Humphris put his hand on her leg before touching her neck and hair. He began kissing her and at this point she froze. Humphris pulled down her jeans and underwear and had sex with her on the bench.

He didn’t use a condom. Humphris at first denied anything sexual had taken place to police, but after a DNA swab taken from her revealed his profile, he claimed that she initiated sex and he believed she was 16.

In a victim impact statement the complainant said she is now constantly looking over her shoulder and is never relaxed. She said the offence had a huge impact on her education and grades and she was worried she might get pregnant after what happened.

Sentencing Humphris, Judge Robert Linford said: “You are 30 and the complainant was 15 at the time. On February 3 you offered to get her tobacco, went for a walk and engaged in inappropriate conversation.”

Judge Linford then spoke about the differing accounts of what happened next, before adding: “Whatever took place her jeans and underwear went down and you had sex on a bench.

“You say that the two parties read the situation differently and I’ve read the texts in the days that followed but you should have read the situation very differently to what you did. You were 30 and she was 15.”

Humphris was jailed for 42 months and must sign the sex offenders’ register.