June 2005

Jail for man who abused girl on boat

A MAN who sexually abused a schoolgirl aboard his catamaran berthed at Penarth Marina has been jailed for three years.

David Hale, aged 41, was involved in a “subtle grooming of the girl”, Mr Justice Christopher Pitchford told Cardiff Crown Court.

Hale, of Bryngwyn Road, Abertillery, admitted four charges of sexual activity with the girl, who is under 16.

Prosecutor Jane Rowley said Hale knew the girl for two months.

During that time she was taken to his catamaran where he abused after a party, and later touched her indecently after buying her alcohol. In another incident he had full sex with her.

The victim said she felt “quite disgusted”, added Miss Rowley.

Hale’s behaviour was discovered by the girl’s mother, who found inappropriate text messages on her daughter’s mobile phone.

Hale denied the abuse when arrested and claimed the girl had been “clinging and overbearing”.

Peter Davies, defending, said Hale later admitted what happened, and was “fully penitent”.

The judge ordered that Hale be on licence for five years, take a sex offenders’ treatment programme and on release register as a sex offender for life.

He also banned him from engaging in any employment which exposed him to unsupervised access to children under 16 for ten years.