July 2009

Pervert jailed

A family have spoken of their relief after a married father-of-five was jailed for four years after grooming a teenage girl for sex.

Martin Stower, of Stiles Close, Minster, admitted five charges of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

Speaking exclusively to the press, the family said they had been devastated Stower had taken advantage of the girl.

One member of the family said: “Although this sentence is relatively light, I’m glad he has gone to prison. It will teach him a hard lesson but I’m worried he will still be a risk to young girls.

“It’s a relief the case is over and we’re now beginning to put it all behind us.”

Maidstone Crown Court heard the 41-year-old pervert took an unhealthy interest in the girl.

Trevor Wright, prosecuting, said Stower talked of his love for the girl and of moving in with her when she reached the age of consent at 16.

The offences came to light after she tried to get herself out of the situation and told a friend.

Stower at first denied any sexual relationship with the girl and then, when presented with DNA evidence, claimed intercourse happened only on one occasion.

He told police the teenager had invited him to have sex with her and he succumbed.

“To put it another way, it was not a 41-year-old man’s fault, it was a 15-year-old child’s fault,” said the prosecutor.

Mr Wright said Stower, in fact, had intercourse with the victim on five occasions.

Marie Spenwyn, defending, said Stower had five children and another child on the way.

She submitted it was not a scenario of a middle-aged man taking advantage and walking away.

“No excuse can be made for his behaviour,” said Miss Spenwyn. “He got caught up in this relationship. This is how it was perceived by him at the time quite wrongly.”

Judge Philip Statman told Stower on Monday: “The bottom line is this: You were the adult and she was under 16 years of age.

“There was a degree of grooming. When found out, there was no immediate admission of guilt.”

He added: “It is clear in all other aspects of your life you are a perfectly hard-working man. But this is a sexual proclivity that has come to light and today you must be punished for what is an extremely serious offence.”

Stower was placed on the sex offenders’ register for life and disqualified from working with children.

The judge added he hoped sex offender treatment would be provided.