Man "abducted" 14-year-old girl in Barrow
Last updated at 17:48, Sunday, 19 August 2012
HAVING a meal with a teenager he met on the internet put a man in the dock of a crown court.
Mark Breckell realised the girl he met in Barrow was not as old as she claimed, but sat down to dinner with her all the same.
This led to him being arrested and charged with child abduction – because she was just 14.
The 42-year-old man, of Rosslyn Crescent, Poulton-le-Fylde, Lancashire, pleaded guilty to an offence of abducting a child when he appeared at Preston Crown Court yesterday.
He was given 12 months’ supervision and told to carry out 40 hours unpaid work for the community.
The court heard the girl had contacted him via a social networking site.
The defendant told police it was a site used for arranging sexual encounters.
They met up and went to the Chetwynde Hotel in Barrow last September.
The judge dealing with the case said there would have been no offence if the girl had been 16.
A photograph of her was produced in court and the prosecution and judge said she did look older than her years.
Mr Paul Cummings, prosecuting, said the girl told Breckell she was 16 and sent him a photograph.
She invited him to meet her in Barrow and, at her suggestion, he booked a hotel for the night.
He met her in his vehicle and realised she was under 16.
Mr Cummings said: “He did take her in his vehicle to the hotel. They checked into a double room, spent some time together in the room before going for a walk.
“They then returned to the hotel and had a meal. During the meal the girl told staff she was ‘frightened’ of the defendant.
“The defendant told police he had realised her true age and had not had any intention to have any sexual encounter with her and intended to take her home once they had finished their meal.
“The police did accept that version was in accordance with all the circumstances known to them”.
Mr Daniel Prowse, defending, said his client had been “foolish and naive”.
He said: “At the point he realised she wasn’t 16 he should have gone away, but they went to the hotel and had dinner together.
“Any thoughts of a sexual encounter left his mind when he knew she wasn’t 16.”
Judge Anthony Russell QC said it was an unusual case. He said the photograph of the girl made her look older and he could understand why the defendant thought that was the case.
He added: “You were very foolish not to get out of the situation immediately.”
First published at 14:50, Sunday, 19 August 2012
Published by http://www.nwemail.co.uk
Have your say
Disgusting! At 14 years old she is a child. A forty two year old man arranging to meet a sixteen year old should be an offence. His behaviour was unacceptable. He took this child into a hotel room and then for dinner like a date when he was fully aware of her age.
Entrapment by a minor? these sites are becoming a scurge and a worry for parents.
They have no knowledge how savvy todays youngsters are on sending hate messages and supposedly making dates with older men.
Shut them all down until technology can prevent access by minors,by a date of birth chip to gain access or by what other means