July 2015

Rastrick man jailed for sexually abusing schoolgirl


A Rastrick man who walked into Halifax police station and confessed to abusing a schoolgirl has been jailed for four years.

Police launched an investigation last November after Paul Lodge admitted “fondling” the girl, who cannot be identified for legal reasons.

Lodge described how he had woken up to find the girl on top of him and he had handed himself in because he thought things might have gone further.

The 48-year-old, of Gargrave Close, pleaded guilty to four charges of sexual activity with a child and an offence of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and today (Wednesday) his own barrister conceded that the abuse of the girl had been despicable.

Barrister Jeremy Lindsay said the offending had not only brought the complainant into the judicial system to assist the police in the way she did, but it had destroyed his client’s good character.

“He has obviously accepted by the fact that he was the one who went to the police in the first place that what he was doing was wrong,” said Mr Lindsay.

“He was obviously upset and concerned about what he had done. Had he not gone to the police at that stage the likelihood of immediate disclosure of what was taking place would appear to have been nil.”

Mr Lindsay said Lodge realised that he now faced a lengthy period in custody, but he submitted that the chances of his client committing similar offences in the future were very small indeed.

In a victim impact statement read to the court by prosecutor Jayne Beckett the complainant described how the abuse had left her “emotionally scarred” and her studying had been badly affected.

Jailing Lodge Judge Peter Benson said it was to his credit that he had “shopped himself” to the police last year, but what he had done to the girl was “wicked and wrong”.

Judge Benson noted that the abuse had not been an isolated incident and it had culminated in them both ending up in bed in a state of undress under the influence of alcohol.

The judge described Lodge’s behaviour as disgraceful and said there had been an element of “grooming” as well as a significant disparity in age.

Lodge, who had no previous convictions, will now have to register as a sex offender with the police for the rest of his life and he is also subject to a sexual harm prevention order which bans him from having unsupervised contact with children under 16 or contacting the complainant.