Man gave vulnerable girl drink and took her to hotel
Youngster had run away from children’s home
A man who gave alcohol to a girl who had run away from a children’s home and took her to a hotel for the night has been jailed for seven months.
It meant Andrew Walker was released as he had spent five months on remand awaiting trial.
The 39-year-old, of Gibbets, Langton Green, near Tunbridge Wells, was originally arrested on suspicion of rape and was then charged with sexual assault and two offences of child abduction.
But he admitted the abduction charges on the third day of his trial and the sexual offence was left on the court file.
In passing sentence a judge said the accepted pleas made it a very different case to the one originally alleged.
Prosecutor Oliver Dunkin said Walker, 39, plied the girl with vodka so that she was “hideously drunk” and had to be carried into the reception of a Premier Inn in Ashford by him.
They had met just hours earlier in January after the girl gave her carer the slip.
With her was a boy from the same children’s home. He had hidden in the boot of the carer’s car while taking the girl to play pool for the evening.
But the youngsters, described as “damaged, vulnerable and something of a handful”, absconded and caught a train to Ashford where they ran into Walker.
He later told police he had been drinking throughout the day with his brother, downing 16 pints of lager before later buying a litre bottle of vodka from a petrol station.
The girl became very drunk and only remembered waking up in a hotel room with Walker and the boy the next morning.
Walker told the hotel receptionist the girl was his drunk sister.
Judge Philip St John-Stevens told Walker: “You will be sentenced on the basis there was no sexual motive whatsoever behind what you did.
“What is absolutely clear is the law is there to protect children. It is clear they were particularly vulnerable.
“Children have to be protected and not plied with alcohol and taken to a place such as you did.”
Walker’s lawyer Jan Hayne said after the change of plea that he had been misguided.
“We have a defendant who has ended up convicted of a technical offence in some ways for which his motive was moral,” she added. “That is what makes it wholly unusual.”
The Premier Inn, in Eureka Park