Man gave vul­ner­a­ble girl drink and took her to ho­tel

Young­ster had run away from chil­dren’s home

Kentish Express Ashford & District - - News -

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.”

Pic­ture: Matt Bris­tow FM3843598

The Pre­mier Inn, in Eureka Park

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