Conman John Bush jailed for sex with abducted 14-year-old girl


Dave Higgens
Tuesday 05 November 2013 08:38 GMT
John Bush, 35, disappeared with the girl, who cannot be named, in June
John Bush, 35, disappeared with the girl, who cannot be named, in June (PA)

A serial fraudster who went on the run for five days with a 14-year-old girl has been jailed for six years.

John Bush, 35, disappeared with the girl, who cannot be named, in June.

A nationwide police hunt was launched after the teenager went missing from her home near Doncaster, South Yorkshire.

She was eventually found with Bush by police near Euston Station in central London.

At a previous hearing he admitted sexual activity with a child, child abduction and making off without paying for two hotel rooms.

He was jailed at Sheffield Crown Court by a judge who said he believed Bush was at least partly motivated by sex.

Sarah Wright, prosecuting, told the court how Bush, who was known to the victim's family, took the girl after she was placed with foster parents.

Her foster mother arrived at school on 10 June to find she had already left with Bush.

Miss Wright said this happened after he had been issued with an order called an abduction notice following previous incidents in which he had turned up and lured the girl away from people who were caring for her.

She said police later found the pair exchanged 250 text messages between 7 and 9 June.

As a nationwide hunt for Bush got under way, the pair travelled to Pontefract, West Yorkshire, and then to Melton Mowbray, Leicestershire, the court heard.

After an aborted attempt to get a room at a Travelodge, Bush used a "sob story" to con the landlord of a pub in the village of Sproxton into letting him have two rooms but left the next day without paying.

He told the landlord the girl was his daughter.

Miss Wright said the pair then went to Peterborough and to London where they failed to get rooms in two Holiday Inns and ended up having to stay for a night in Watford.

The following day, they went back to London where they were spotted by a "sharp-eyed" British Transport Police officer and Bush was arrested.

The court heard Bush told the girl at the time: "Come on (her name), it's over."

The prosecutor said police later recovered items that proved there had been sexual activity between the pair.

Miss Wright said the five days the girl was missing left her family distraught with worry.

But Nicholas De La Poer, defending Bush, told the court: "(The girl's) mother did know where she was and was in regular contact, whatever she was saying publicly."

Judge Paul Watson said Bush's action left many members of the girl's family deeply worried.

He said: "She was a vulnerable little girl leading a chaotic lifestyle, through no fault of her own.

"At a time when she needed stability and guidance in her life, you took her away from the people responsible for providing that for her."

Judge Watson said: "This little girl going missing sparked a nationwide search and caused untold distress and anxiety for the relatives and those who were responsible for her care."

Mr De La Poer asked the judge to take into account the fact that sex was not the main motivation for the abduction and said it was done on impulse.

The barrister said his client was "making it up as he went along" and "living off his wits".

He told the court of Bush's "real regret and remorse for his behaviour".

But Judge Watson told Bush: "Sexual activity had also taken place between you and you have pleaded guilty to that. I'm satisfied that that was, if not your prime motivation, certainly a very strong motivation for your conduct."

The judge heard how Bush has a history of convictions for dishonesty, involving conning people out of money and property, dating back to 1997.

He has served a number of prison terms and, at the time he abducted the girl, was the subject of a suspended prison sentence imposed at York Crown Court for another series of frauds.

Judge Watson jailed Bush, of Moss Road, Askern, Doncaster, for three and a half years for sexual activity with a child and two years for child abduction, to run consecutively.

He jailed him for 12 months for not paying for the hotel room, but said this was to run concurrently with the other sentences.

But he jailed him for a further six months in relation to the breach of his suspended sentence, making six years in total.


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