A FORMER Wigan dance champion has been jailed after having an affair with a schoolgirl 45 years his junior.
Christopher Freeman’s career and life today lie in tatters after he admitted two charges of sexual activity with a child.
A judge at Liverpool Crown Court yesterday sent him to prison for three years and nine months, as his barrister said that Freeman blames no-one but himself.
The 59-year-old’s inappropriate relationship with the Wigan 14-year-old came to light last December, but not the fact that they had twice had intercourse, and in March magistrates imposed a three-year community order.
But the day after sentencing, the girl confided in a schoolteacher about the full extent of their sexual activity, and consequently Freeman, of Acton Terrace, Swinley, was re-arrested.
Jailing him, Judge Robert Warnock said: “What you did was a gross breach of trust.
“You were a renowned and highly successful dance champion.
“She was enthralled by you, and you, because of your inadequacy, became enthralled by her.”
Judge Warnock said that when he was dealt with by magistrates for sexual activity with the girl, it was only part of the story.
“You knew that was only part of the picture.
“You were using her as a sex object. I have no doubt whatsoever that your victim has suffered.”
He added that the fact that he had not used contraception was an aggravating feature, and the case involved grooming of a young girl by a much older man.
Freeman, formerly of Evergreen Close, Chorley, was ordered to sign the Sex Offenders’ Register for life, and an indefinite Sexual Offences Prevention Order was also made.
Prosecutor Martine Snowdon told the court that Freeman, who had run a dance school, Dance Connections, in Chorley, for many years, began contacting the girl via Facebook, and a relationship developed.
Her mother found texts from him on her mobile phone in December, and the police were informed.
When the girl was interviewed, she said the relationship had begun in the summer holidays, and he had been sending her sexual messages via Facebook, followed by text messages.
“He said he loved her, but the relationship could not go anywhere because he was married,” said Miss Snowdon.
The first time he kissed and hugged her she got upset and he apologised.
“He kissed her again about two or three weeks later, and after more texts he would pick her up in his car and take her to secluded places where he would kiss and touch her sexually.
When interviewed, Freeman admitted indecent touching, but denied having sexual intercourse with the girl.
Miss Snowdon said: “He said he knew it was wrong, but he had fallen in love with her.”
After the girl confided in her teacher, she was re-interviewed and told how they first had intercourse in August, after he took off their trousers and told her “trust me”.
Afterwards the girl, who had been very upset, texted him, saying she could not believe what he had done, said Miss Snowdon.
In November, he took her to his home while his wife slept upstairs and, after giving her four bottles of lager to drink, they stripped naked, but did not have sex.
However, the next month he went to her home while she was alone and they had sex in her bed.
Afterwards he sent texts, including saying, “Love you very much darling”.
Steven Swift, defending, said Freeman has no previous convictions and was very remorseful. “Imprisonment will have a profound impact on him.
“He has lost his family, business and home.
“He doesn’t blame anyone but himself.”