April 2013

Ware man jailed for sexual acts with underage girl

A WARE man was jailed for five years today (April 25) for having sexual activity with an underage girl.

Bruce Murdoch, 41, exchanged hundreds of texts with the 14-year-old girl and on one drunken occasion admitted sending her a picture of his penis.

The girl – who cannot be identified for legal reasons – alleged he had kissed her and indulged in sexual acts between August and December 2007.

Murdoch, who works as a gardener, told the jury at St Albans Crown Court that no sexual activity had taken place but that she had made him feel good when he was down and lonely.

He said he had been married in 1995 but divorced in 2001.

At the time of the offences he said he was suffering from depression and was drinking too much.

“I was drinking heavily, using cocaine and I was depressed, down and lonely,” he said.

Questioned by his lawyer Andel Singh, Murdoch denied ever kissing the girl or indulging in any sexual activity, but he admitted there had been a “massive amount” of telephone contact.

He went on: “We would chat a lot.

“She would make me feel good when I was down and lonely.

“She talked to me and was responsive to me.

“I can’t believe how many telephone calls and texts there were. “

Asked if he felt it was appropriate, he replied: “I didn’t think about it at the time.”

He said he did not know what he was doing when he sent her a message saying he would wait till she was 16.

“I regretfully sent her a picture of my penis – we were joking.

“I am truly sorry for it and deeply regret it.”

Murdoch of Wheatsheaf Drive, Ware denied five charges of sexual activity with a child and one charge of causing a child to engage in sexual activity.

Judge Martin Griffith sentenced him to a total of five years in custody.

Murdoch must sign on the Sex Offenders’ Register indefinitely.