Page last updated at 18:33 GMT, Thursday, 22 April 2010 19:33 UK

Man jailed for sex with autistic teenager

A man who had sex with a "vulnerable" autistic girl after meeting her mother via the internet has been jailed for more than three years.

Kevin Watson, 50 travelled from his East Sussex home to County Durham to meet the woman after striking up a friendship in a chat room.

He then built up a relationship with her 15-year-old daughter.

Watson, of Old Harrow Road, St Leonards on Sea, admitted five counts of sexual activity with a child.

He was jailed for 40 months and placed on the Sex Offenders Register for life.

There was a degree of trust breached... you are someone that the family looked upon fondly
Judge Christopher Prince

Durham Crown Court heard the offences occurred at the family home while the mother was out, and at a budget hotel.

Prosecutor Jane Mitford said: "The defendant met the mother through the internet and that allowed the daughter access to the defendant.

Reading from Watson's police statement, Miss Mitford added: "In summary he admits that he took advantage of a vulnerable girl."

Passing sentence, Judge Christopher Prince said: "You built up a close relationship with the girl to the extent she would text you and call you 'dad'.

"You must have surely realised that engaging in sexual activity with a young girl of this age, particularly when you were in a relationship with her mother, was likely to cause her real upset.

"There was a degree of trust breached but you were not her father or stepfather, but clearly you are someone that the family looked upon fondly."



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