Jailed: Man who had sex with 15-year-old girl before running away with her
An Eltham man who sparked a nationwide police hunt after running away with a vulnerable schoolgirl has been jailed.
Fred Finch, of Well Hall Road, has been sentenced to five years and 10 months in prison after he was convicted of offences relating to a 15-year-old girl from Sidcup.
The 51-year-old was found guilty of sexual activity with a child under 16, four counts of possessing indecent images and assisting in the abduction of a child.
The girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, has been under the care of her local authority for years after her father committed suicide.
During the trial at Woolwich Crown Court, prosecutor Richard Bendall told the court the girl, now 16, saw Finch as a “father figure” but began to develop romantic feelings for him in September 2014.
Mr Bendall said Finch initially kept his distance but by February 2015 had embarked on a sexual relationship with the teenager.
A concerned family member later got hold of the victim’s phone and saw new £110 boots, a cinema ticket captioned “cinema with the main one”, along with selfies of the pair.
When confronted, she admitted she had been sleeping with the defendant when she was 15 and 16.
The next morning the victim had run away with Finch.
After being missing for 10 days and sparking a nationwide police hunt, the pair handed themselves in at Plumstead police station on May 26 and Finch was arrested.
The pair originally claimed they had no sexual relations but [the girl] later admitted something had happened between them.
In a taped statement played to the court, the girl said: “Fred was like a father to me.
“He was basically looking after me as a dad when I was staying round there, getting too close with him I started liking him and fancying him.”
She continued on tape: “I told him I liked him. I was young, I didn’t really know much.
“I started touching him, he started touching me.”
She said they started having sex in his bedroom.
The girl added: “It wasn’t really that long because I didn’t like it so I told him to get off me.”
Speaking after the sentencing, PC Hanna Spencer, of the Met Police’s sexual offences, exploitation and child abuse command, said: “Finch has abused his position within the family and the trust given to him by a vulnerable child who viewed him as a father figure.
“He manipulated this child over a period of time for his own gratification and this would have continued were it not for her family’s intervention.
“Finch has now been convicted of this crime and deserves the sentence that will be imposed.”