Man jailed for having sex with 14-year-old

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A MAN who abducted a girl after being warned by police of his criminal behaviour has been jailed.

Ben Asher, 35, formed a relationship with a 14-year-old girl and then took her to have sex with him at a hotel.

Several days later the girl from Portsmouth, who cannot be named for legal reasons, went missing and was tracked down by police to Asher’s home in Plymouth.

Police warned him he was breaking the law and faced serious consequences, but several days later he met up with the girl again after she told her parents she was going to meet a friend.

Portsmouth Crown Court heard Asher bought a tent and later that day took it to the campsite so he could have sex with the girl.

Police arrived at the campsite and found him fondling and kissing the girl.

Asher pleaded guilty to three counts of child sex offences, including abduction, and appeared before Judge Roger Hetherington.

Stephen Parish, prosecuting, said 60 indecent images of Asher were found on the girl’s phone.

He added: ‘There were a large number of texts, hundreds and hundreds of them, they were all highly sexualised.

‘It seems she was very enthusiastic about the matters but one bears in mind that she is a 14-year-old child.’

Mr Parish said there had been a risk of pregnancy from the sexual intercourse as no protection was used.

Edward Hollingsworth, defending, said Asher pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.

He has no previous convictions.

He said: ‘He’s a man who has formed a genuine relationship with a young woman and has simply permitted himself to behave in a sexual way towards her when the relationship turned in that direction.

‘He accepts that it was illegal. He recognises it was harmful.’

Sentencing him to four years in prison, Judge Hetherington pointed out there was a 21-year difference in age.

He said: ‘You set out to effectively further the relationship with her into a full sexual relationship.

‘You did that by an element of grooming using your phone, text messaging and exchanging images by phone and then colluding in lies that she was forced to give and meeting in secret.’

He said Asher bought a tent with the ‘specific intent’ of having sex with the girl.

Asher, of Lipson Road, Plymouth, who wore a black T-shirt and jogging bottoms in court, did not say anything as he was led away by an officer.

He will be on the sex offenders’ register for life.