A man who ran away with a vulnerable schoolgirl less than half his age was jailed yesterday for a year.
Anthony Ovington fled to Blackpool with the infatuated teenager, ignoring warnings from her concerned mother to stay away from her daughter.
He booked into a guest house in a false name for over a week, sharing a room with the girl who was three weeks short of her sixteenth birthday at the time.
The 32-year-old was finally arrested as he drove back to Tyneside with the girl in his former partner’s car, which he had taken without consent, Newcastle Crown Court was told.
Recovered by police from the car was a letter from Ovington to the girl declaring his undying love for her, the court heard.
Carl Gumsley, prosecuting, said: “The letter indicated he wanted to marry her and have babies with her and was hoping she felt the same way as him and wished her to stay with him for the rest of his life.”
Ovington, of Waterloo Court, Washington, admitted in police interviews going to Blackpool knowing the girl had a crush on him and accepted that they had shared a double bed, but said he had kept his clothes on and there had been no inappropriate behaviour.
Ovington admitted child abduction, taking a car without consent, driving with no insurance and not in accordance with a licence, making off without paying the guesthouse £150 owed and stealing a television and microwave from the premises.
He has previous convictions for motoring offences, theft and deception and was cautioned in 1998 for having sex with a girl under 16, for which he was placed on the sex offender register.
Chris Morrison, defending, said: “I submit there was no coercion here. There is no allegation of sexual impropriety between them.”
Jailing Ovington for 12 months, Recorder John Muir said: “Had there been evidence of a sexual relationship, you would have been confronted with a quite different level of sentence.”