11:30am Monday 19th November 2012
By Wendy Barlow
A DISGRACED ex-transport manager had been branded a ‘paedo’ in Oswaldtwistle after suggesting sex to a frightened schoolgirl over Facebook, a court was told.
Father-of-four Mark Turner, whose 20-year marriage had fallen apart due to his alcohol use, had been subjected to ‘public vilification’ after his ‘disgraceful’ conduct became common knowledge in the local community.
Burnley Crown Court heard Turner, 43, had been living alone in a one-bedroom flat and been drinking heavily.
He was said to have been in a state of depression and despair when he told the teenager: “I will get into trouble if I tell you what I want to tell you.”
The defendant then said he wanted to make love to her, asked her how she felt and she replied she was scared.
The victim blocked the conversation, but Turner then texted her, telling her he wanted to have sex with her ‘big time’ and apologising for frightening her. The teenager said no, told her mother and the defen-dant was arrested and questioned by police.
Turner fought back tears in the dock as he was spared jail by a judge who slammed his behaviour as ‘disgraceful’.
The defendant, of St Paul’s Court, Oswaldtwistle, had admitted inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.
He was given a 12-month community order with supervision and a six-month alcohol treat-ment programme. The defendant, who was told to pay £250 costs, must sign the sex offenders’ register for five years.
Stephen Parker, prosecuting, said when interviewed by police, Turner told them he was embarrassed, ashamed and his actions had been completely out of character for him. Alan Wolstenholme, for Turner, said: “He could not have done more in terms of candour and in terms of his contrition and remorse for the offence.”
Mr Wolstenholme said Turner had been sub-jected to public vilification within the community and had been branded a ‘paedo’ .
Mr Wolstenholme said Turner, who was now on a course at college, was not assessed by the probation service as being a predator or showing signs of becoming one.
He said: “The defendant is utterly contrite and is terrified of going to prison.”
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