A man from Stanton has been jailed after being convicted of two offences of sexual activity with a child.
During a six month period Trevor Handley, 55, of Honeymeade Close, had frequent sex with a schoolgirl he had groomed.
Handley had denied the offences but was this week found guilty by a jury at Ipswich Crown Court.
Today (Wednesday) Handley was jailed for six years by Judge David Goodin who told him: “You saw an opportunity with this 15 year old to gratify your own sexual desires.”
The offences were a ‘gross abuse of trust’, said Judge Goodin, who added: “The damage to her personality and ambitions for the future cannot be overstated.”
Hanna Lllewellyn-Waters, prosecuting, said Handley had befriended the girl and began grooming her by sending her a note in which he said he had been ‘thinking about you’.
Handley then sent the girl a string of text messages in which he told her that he wanted to have sex with her, the court heard.
The prosecution said he had paid to top-up her mobile phone when it ran out of credit to enable her to continue to receive his messages.
Miss Llewellyn-Waters said Handley then moved on to picking the girl up from school in his car and driving to a wooded area where he had sex with her.
The girl had told her parents that she was at an after school club, the jury were told.
Handley, a father of two, had sex with the girl in the six months before her 16th birthday, the court heard.
Giving evidence, the girl said that she had felt confused and at times flattered by Handley’s attentions and had recorded what she was feeling in a notebook.
The girl, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, said it was only later when she looked back on what had happened and realised it was wrong that she had decided to go to the police.
Handley told the court that he never had sex with the girl before she reached the age of consent and said all the allegations about his behaviour towards her were untrue.
Defending, Joanne Eley said the offences had been a ‘one off’ and Handley had no previous convictions or allegations against him. He had worked as a bus driver since 2000.
In addition to being jailed, Handley was made the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order indefinitely, banning him from unsupervised contact with any girls aged under 16.
Judge Goodin told Handley: “It is serious sexual offending. There is a significant risk that you may find such behaviour irresistable again in the future. There is certainly a risk of that.”
Handley was ordered to sign the sexual offences register indefinitely and Judge Goodin granted a restraining order forbidding Handley from making any contact with his victim.