November 2008

Prison for man who had sex with girl, 15, at hotel

A SEX offender has admitted he abused a 15-year-old girl, having previously denied it at an Exeter Crown Court trial.

Michael White, 49, a mechanic from Exeter Road, Exmouth, was jailed for four years yesterday at the same court.

He had groomed the girl with friendship when she was going through a difficult time. This escalated to kissing and sending her a mobile photo of himself undressed in the shower. Then he had sex with her at the Exmouth hotel he was staying in at the time.

White was found guilty of an offence of sexual activity with a child in an incident last year, at an earlier trial.

He had denied the offence and had maintained the girl was lying that she had ever been in his bedroom.

The court was yesterday told he had now confessed his guilt to a probation officer drawing up his pre-sentence report.

Judge Graham Cottle, jailing White, said he had put the girl through the ordeal of giving evidence in court.

Prosecutor Malcolm Galloway said the victim was distressed that some of White’s family had wrongly accused her of “lying through her teeth”.

White claimed the girl was lying and part of his defence was that he had an intimate piercing which she had not mentioned to police.

He claimed it was another young girl who had visited his hotel room that night and that she had an innocent reason to do so. But the court heard evidence from the victim and others, including a friend she had confided in. The girl divulged the incident to a teacher and a police investigation was launched.

Defence counsel Kelly Scrivener said White had no similar previous convictions, although he had one for dishonesty a long time ago.

Judge Cottle told White he must keep his details on the Sex Offenders Register and stick to the conditions of a Sex Offences Prevention Order for life.

White had been acquitted of a second, similar charge, involving the same girl, which he also denied.