A STEP-FATHER who had a baby with his teenage step-daughter after allowing her to move in with him has won a cut in his sentence at London’s Court of Appeal.
The man, who is from the Sheffield area but cannot be named to protect the identity of his victim, started a sexual relationship the 16-year-old girl years after he split up with her mother.
When it emerged the teenager had had his child, police moved in and the man was jailed for three years for the rarely-invoked offence of ‘sexual activity with a child family member’.
But, in a case which tested the boundaries of what constitutes a family, two senior judges cut the sentence to two years, of which the man will serve one year behind bars.
Judge Peter Beaumont QC told the court the man, who is in his 50s, lived with the girl’s mother when the girl was still at primary school, but moved out long before she became a teenager.
The girl, not a blood relation, got in contact with him after she turned 16 and they started a sexual relationship.
When the teenager became pregnant the man was quizzed by police but insisted he had done nothing wrong because the girl consented to sex and she had contacted him.
But he admitted a familial sex offence at Sheffield Crown Court earlier this year, when a judge found he had ‘taken advantage of the girl’s immaturity and vulnerability’.
Lawyers brought his case to the Court of Appeal, arguing he should have been given a lighter sentence to reflect the fact any responsibility he had for the girl ended years before they got together.
Judge Beaumont said: “Clearly a custodial sentence was inevitable to mark the breach of trust and the advantage that the appellant undoubtedly took of the victim’s immaturity.”
But he added the early plea of guilty and admissions made by the man meant the correct sentence was one year.