Foster carer preyed on girl, 14

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A YOUTH group tutor who befriended, fostered and then started a sexual relationship with a vulnerable Sheffield teenage girl 40 years his junior has been jailed for breaching a restraining order banning him from contacting her.

The 54-year-old man, who cannot be named for legal reasons, met the girl when she was 14 and the young girlfriend of his grandson, Sheffield Crown Court heard.

Laurinder Bower, prosecuting, said the girl had gone to the youth group with her boyfriend where she met the defendant.

The girl, who had spent several years in care, told him she wasn’t happy in her accommodation - and he put himself and his wife forward as foster carers for her.

Miss Bower said: “Very soon afterwards the defendant’s wife became concerned about his relationship with her and the marriage broke down.

“He and the girl lived together with the defendant’s mother. Social services removed the complainant from the defendant’s care and he was not to have any more contact with her.”

Miss Bower said the teen was placed with new foster carers but in April last year she went missing.

She was found at the man’s flat and he was charged with detaining a child without authority and given a conditional discharge and a restraining order banning them from living together.

Police received a call in November from the man’s flatmate, telling them the girl, by now 16, was at the apartment.

When officers arrived they found the two in bed together.

Miss Bower said: “He told the police he had been drinking throughout the day and had found her outside when he arrived home. She followed him into the house and she sat talking to him. The next thing he knew, the police arrived.”

The defendant admitted breaching his conditional discharge and restraining order.

Geoff Flemming, defending, said the man was ‘in drink, and perhaps lacking the resolve he would have had, had he been sober’.

Jailing him for seven months, Miss Recorder Jane Rowley said: “You have followed a persistent and determined course of inappropriate behaviour towards her.

“She was placed in the care of you and your wife, you had a relationship of trust and you abused that trust.”