Child sex abuser sent to prison for four years

By Steve Peacock in Crime

An abuser who used a “carrot and stick” strategy to groom a 14-year-old for under age sex has been jailed for four years.

Allan Sherlock gave the girl cannabis and gifts but became violent when she tried to resist his advances.

He sent threatening messages when she started a relationship with a boy of her own age, including one to him with a picture of a baseball bat and the caption “see if she still loves you with half a face”.

Sherlock, who is said to have a paranoid personality disorder and adult ADHD, repeatedly had sex with the girl when she was 14 and 15, and he was living in Dartmouth and Totnes.

He first met her when he was living on the Queen Elizabeth Drive estate in Paignton, which he compared to the television comedy series Shameless.

She was also considered vulnerable and was playing truant from school for much of the time she was seeing him, Exeter Crown Court was told.

Sherlock, 30, of Parkers Close, Totnes, and formerly of Jubilee Close, Dartmouth, denied but was convicted of four counts of sexual activity with a child.

He was jailed by Recorder Mr Ignatius Hughes, QC, who told him: “She was a vulnerable child, although it is right to say she had her own problems before you met her and was skipping school.

“You groomed her and to a degree coerced her to submit to a sexual relationship by giving her cannabis and gifts. There was a mixture of that and ill treatment and abuse of one sort or another.

“It would be fair to say your approach was one of carrot and stick towards a vulnerable person over whom you exercised mental control.”

During a four-day trial earlier this month, the girl said Sherlock befriended her by giving her cannabis and they started a consensual relationship when she was 13 or 14.

She said it turned sour after he moved to Totnes shortly before her 16th birthday because he became possessive and controlling. After she left him, her new boyfriend received text threats.

Sherlock said the sexual relationship only started when he moved to Totnes and at the time he thought she was at least 16. He said she never told him her age while they were together.

She said he met her when she came up to him as he was walking down Queen Elizabeth Drive in Paignton smoking a cannabis joint.

He said this sort of thing was normal on that estate, which he compared to the television series Shameless.

She and a friend asked him for cannabis and he refused, but she went on to seek him out and they became friends.

Barry White, defending, said Sherlock suffers from a paranoid personality disorder, adult ADHD, is on the autistic spectrum and needs anti-psychotic medication. He said he will be very vulnerable in prison.

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