Man jailed for sex with autistic girl

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The Independent Online

A man who befriended a woman over the internet then had sex with her autistic teenage daughter was today jailed for more than three years.

Kevin Watson took the 15-year-old girl's virginity in her home when her mother left them alone last summer after telling her: "You. Upstairs. Bedroom. Now."

They had sex again when Watson took the girl to a budget hotel and plied her with alcohol.

Durham Crown Court heard the defendant had struck up a friendship with the girl's mother after meeting on an internet chat room site in April last year.

After chatting online 50-year-old Watson travelled to County Durham from his home in East Sussex to meet the mother and her family.

It was during one of those visits in August that sex first took place, with further liaisons the following month.

Prosecutor Jane Mitford said: "The defendant met the mother through the internet and that allowed the daughter access to the defendant."

Reading from Watson's police statement, Miss Mitford added: "In summary he admits that he took advantage of a vulnerable girl."

Ian West, defending, said Watson was not a predatory paedophile.

"It was not in any way trying to get to a young girl via her mother," he told the court. "It is simply the way it happened.

"Mr Watson is not a predatory paedophile who has groomed the victim and wormed her way into her affections by using her mother.

"This was a relationship of genuine affection. It may be that the girl was a girl who was easily persuaded and falls into a relationship of affection."

Watson, of Old Harrow Road, St Leonards on Sea, admitted five counts of sexual activity with a child on dates between August 16 and September 4 last year.

Passing sentence Judge Christopher Prince jailed Watson for 40 months.

"Through the internet you got into contact with the girl's mother and in the May you went to visit her where you met her children," the judge told the defendant.

"You built up a close relationship with the girl to the extent she would text you and call you 'dad'.

"When the mother was out you said to the girl: 'You. Upstairs. Bedroom. Now' and the activity occurred.

"You must have surely realised that engaging in sexual activity with a young girl of this age, particularly when you were in a relationship with her mother, was likely to cause her real upset.

"There was a degree of trust breached but you were not her father or stepfather but clearly you are someone that the family looked upon fondly."

Watson was also placed on the Sex Offenders Register for life.