November 2005

Three years for businessman who groomed girl, 14

A businessman has been jailed for three years for seducing a schoolgirl less than half his age.

David Turnbull, 36, groomed the 14-year-old for sex, buying her a ring and promising to run away with her to Ireland, Newcastle Crown Court heard.

He was found guilty at a trial last month of attempting to rape the teenager in a car park last December and of sexual activity with her a week later. 

The former grass cutter, who has interests in tanning salons, laundry and landscaping businesses, denied the offences and continues to protest his innocence, the court was told yesterday.

Jailing Turnbull, Judge David Wood ordered him to register as a sex offender for life and banned him from ever working with children.

The judge said he accepted the victim had consented to what took place and that Turnbull, who lived in Blyth before moving to Berwick, both Northumberland, was an otherwise hard-working man with no convictions of a similar nature.

He told him: “I accept she may have been attracted to you and may at times have behaved in a provocative way, but you encouraged her in that and took advantage of it.

“The trial also demonstrated, it seems to me, that she is badly affected by the relationship you had and the statement I have read suggests she may continue to be affected by it for some years to come. The pre-sentence report makes it plain that you refuse to accept the finding of this jury and assesses that you represent a medium to high risk of further sexual offending.”

Police were called to the court after a number of women who had attended the hearing shouted abuse at each other moments after Turnbull was sentenced.

He was arrested after the girl confided in a school counsellor.

October 2005

Tattooed pervert David Turnbull used his flashy outward lifestyle to groom a girl 22-years younger than him for sex.

The 14-year-old schoolgirl and her parents were said to be relieved today after Turnbull was convicted at Newcastle Crown Court of sex offences against the youngster.

She had confided in a school counsellor about Turnbull’s sexual demands as she mistakenly feared she may have been pregnant.

Police were alerted on January 5 after the concerned counsellor passed on the teenager’s fears

Turnbull, 36, originally from Blyth, Northumberland, but living in Berwick for the last 10 years, is facing a lengthy prison sentence and being placed on the Sex Offender’s Register.

Nicknamed “Davey Tattoo” after he covered his body hands and arms with a series adornments over the years, Turnbull, was remanded in custody awaiting reports.

He was convicted by the jury on one charge of attempted rape and another of sexual activity with a child. He was cleared of a further charge of sexual activity with a child.

The court heard he has previous convictions for burglary in the 80s, driving offences, and affray, although he had no previous sex convictions.

Known as a “hard man” Turnbull was seen as untouchable by local families because of his reputation.

Det Con David Felton of South East Northumberland CID said: “It has been a very distressing and upsetting time for those involved and the bravery shown by the witnesses to stand up and confront David Turnbull should be admired. “

Described as a businessman in court, Turnbull was grass cutter by trade.

He had interests in a tanning salons in Berwick and Turnbull drove a £45,000 BMW X5.

He targeted the High School pupil over a period of time at social nights and set out to seduce her with his wealth.

Turnbull, of Sunnyside Mews, Berwick, had denied seducing the girl in a friend’s car.

He had been staying at his mother’s address in Inglewood Close, Blyth, while awaiting trial.

At court he denied three charges of having sex with a girl under the age of 16.

But the trial jury was told that Turnbull had sexual intercourse with the girl, and had asked her to perform an indecent act.

Judge David Wood adjourned sentence for reports to be prepared by the probation service but rejected a defence application for Turnbull’s bail to be extended. He will be sentenced on November 8.