An aircraft engineer who befriended a schoolgirl half his age on the internet and performed sexual acts with her has been jailed for a total of 28 months.
Comic con enthusiast Alexander Charles Allen first met his victim online on a website related to the hobby they shared, which sees people dress as their favourite comic characters and attend conventions.
The chat on the internet turned to explicit chat before the sexual activity took placeProsecutor Paul Brookwell
Preston Crown Court heard that Allen then struck up a relationship with the 15-year-old girl and this eventually led to their having lewd conversations online.
Prosecuting, Paul Brookwell said the 31-year-old came up from his home in Gloucestershire to engage in sexual activity with the girl in his car after he met the victim in the Wigan area in September 2015.
And the hearing was told that similar offences had taken place after they booked into a hotel room in Blackpool.
The court heard that after the teenager’s mother learned of the relationship with the older man and became concerned, Allen responded by sending the woman letters declaring his love for the schoolgirl.
Mr Brookwell said: “This was clearly a relationship that started when he was 29 and she was 15.
“The age disparity is an aggravating factor.
“Like all 15-year-olds, they think they are older than they are.
“The chat on the internet turned to explicit chat before the sexual activity took place,” the court heard.
Allen, of Pinewood Drive Cheltenham, Gloucester, pleaded guilty to charges of sexual activity with a child and two further counts of intentionally sexually touching the girl.
A personal impact statement from the girl, who is now 17 years old and cannot be identified for legal reasons, was read out in the courtroom.
In it she said that when she realised that the relationship was a “fantasy,” she had felt depressed, felt that nobody liked her and that she did not “fit in”.
Defending, Tom Lord said that Allen was sexually and emotionally naive when it came to relationships and had been of previous good character.
He said: “He has expressed fantastical views about love and marriage and taking a relationship forward.”
Jailing him, Judge Heather Lloyd said he would be on the barring list and imposed a 10-year sexual harm prevention order.