(Via York Press) A 27-YEAR-OLD York man who admitted having sex with a 14-year-old girl has avoided an immediate prison sentence.
Dean Richard Edwards was 26 when he had sex with the girl, just days after her 14th birthday, after she had run away from her foster home in York.
Edwards, now 27, pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual activity with a child, both of which occurred at a property in Rowntree Avenue, where he was living at the time of the offences, between December 6 and 10, 2013.
York Crown Court heard the girl, who no longer lives in York, was reported missing on December 7, 2013, and police searched the property. Edwards and another man who lived at the address, denied the girl was at the property, but police carried out a search and found her asleep on a sofa in Edwards’ bedroom.
Shaun Dodds, prosecuting, said there was evidence that alcohol and cannabis had been used at the house and the girl was removed from the property.
Mr Dodds said there was an “initial reluctance to participate” in the police investigation against Edwards, and the girl had returned to the house and had sex with Edwards a second time.
Mr Dodds said: “She returned to the premises the next day. Clearly there was a degree of affection between the couple.” The girl told her mother and foster carer about the sex a week after the incidents, and maintained it had been consensual.
Recorder of York Judge Stephen Ashurst, sentencing Edwards, said: “Adults who have sex with children must always receive a prison sentence”, but acknowledged he had spent five months on remand and pleaded guilty before trial.
The judge told Edwards: “You were well over that age yourself and must have known she was well under 16. There was full consent, but because of her age, her consent was irrelevant.”
Edwards was sentenced to 15 months in prison, suspended for two years, and placed on the sex offenders register for ten years.
Judge Ashurst said: “This is not just a token part of the sentencing system. A failure to comply with notification requirements under the sexual offenders act is a criminal offence for which you can be sent to prison for five years.”