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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 September 2006, 16:58 GMT 17:58 UK
Labour worker 'groomed teenager'
A former Labour Party organiser abducted and took to bed a 13-year-old boy he had groomed on the internet, a court has heard.

Peter Tuffley, 28, was working in the North West when he met the youngster.

Mr Tuffley and the boy swapped emails before kissing and cuddling at the regional organiser's Liverpool home, Bolton Crown Court heard.

Mr Tuffley, now living in East Sussex, denies grooming, child abduction and sexual activity with a child.

The youngster's parents had called police after he failed to return home.

Mr Tuffley was arrested the next day - telling officers he thought the boy was over 16.

Internet chatroom

Mr Tuffley, who now lives at Pipersfield, Ridgewood, East Sussex, has since resigned from his position with the Labour Party.

When police checked Mr Tuffley's computer they found an exchange of messages between the two, which the prosecution alleged showed Mr Tuffley must have known he was underage

The boy, referred to in court as Boy A, first contacted Mr Tuffley through an internet chatroom and dating website.

The youngster, then aged 13, claimed to be 18 on the website, was gay and from the North West.

But he told police later he had admitted to Mr Tuffley he was still at school - but had said he was aged 15, not 13.

Mobile phone text messages and emails between the two were shown to the jury.

"You can see from the content they demonstrated a childish infatuation from boy A for the defendant and the defendant was interested about meeting him," Geoff Whelan, prosecuting, said.

'Willing participant'

After more messages were exchanged the boy, who is from Bolton, asked to meet up and Mr Tuffley agreed.

One message from Mr Tuffley read: "I will get your drink in, you little alky. I hope we can manage more than a minute when we do it."

On 12 March, Mr Tuffley is alleged to have picked the boy up from school, before driving him driving back to his flat.

They watched videos then got into bed together, the court heard. The boy said they kissed.

Tuffley told officers the boy's internet profile claimed he was 18 and he assumed the youngster was in the sixth form at school.

Mr Whelan added: "The key issue is age. There is no doubt boy A was a willing participant in whatever activity took place.

"The problem for the defendant is boy A was a 13-year-old boy. A child in the eye's of the law. There is ample evidence the defendant knew his age."

The case continues.

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