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Last Updated: Tuesday, 20 March 2007, 12:51 GMT
Councillor sold partner for sex
Alan Burkitt
Alan Burkitt was given a 12-month suspended sentence
A councillor who advertised his girlfriend for sex over the internet has been given a suspended sentence.

Alan Burkitt, 48, of West Bromwich, West Midlands, admitted four counts of causing prostitution between November 2005 and February 2006.

The court heard more than 20 men paid 50 for her services while Burkitt, an Independent member for Sandwell Council, sat in the room next door.

A council spokesman said the council found the matter "abhorrent".

'Easily led'

Prosecuting, Stuart Clarkson told Wolverhampton Crown Court the woman had an IQ of 52 and mild learning disabilities.

"She is easily led and was not able to give informed consent to sexual activity in return for money.

"Men would come to the house, pay her and she would surrender the money to the defendant."

He thought both of them could put themselves forward to earn money on the site, but to nobody's surprise there was little interest in him
Andrew Fisher, defending

Burkitt, who represents Charlemont with Grove Vale ward, and formerly of Beaconview Road, had been in a relationship with her for eight years.

He was arrested on 5 March last year after she told her family what was going on.

In mitigation, Andrew Fisher said she had consented to the work and that it was to help them out of financial difficulties.

"He thought both of them could put themselves forward to earn money on the site, but to nobody's surprise there was little interest in him."

He said the woman made the accusation after she mistakenly believed he was seeing another woman.

Burkitt was handed a 12-month sentence suspended for two years.

'Automatically disqualified'

Allison Fraser, chief executive of Sandwell Council said Burkitt's conduct would appal decent, right-thinking people.

"We are horrified that an elected representative of this authority could behave in such a way in his private life.

"We wholeheartedly welcome today's sentence and are pleased to see that justice has been done.

"It also means, under national legislation governing local authorities, that Burkitt is automatically disqualified from his membership of the council.

"We unreservedly welcome that, too," she said.

She added disqualification cannot take effect until the last date for an appeal has passed. This can take between 21 and 28 days.

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