Man, 23, pestered girl of 14 into having sex

Owen Froude

Owen Froude

First published in News The Oxford Times: Photograph of the Author by , Senior reporter. Call me on (01865) 425373

A 14-year-old girl was pestered by a man with learning difficulties until she had sex with him.

Owen Froude had tears in his eyes as he was led away yesterday at Oxford Crown Court to begin a three-year prison sentence.

The 23-year-old admitted having sexual activity with a child and causing or inciting a child to be involved in pornography during December and January 2012, at an earlier hearing.

Froude, of Gainsborough Green, Abingdon, committed the crimes against a girl who was 13 when he met her and had just turned 14 when they had sex.

Ian Hope, prosecuting, said the defendant knew his victim’s age and received 12 pictures of her naked on his mobile phone, some of which were “very graphic”.

He said Froude went on to “pester” the complainant until she finally had sex with him, but added that the Crown Prosecution Service now accepts that it was consensual.

Mr Hope said the girl had been left tearful and upset afterwards, as well as feeling stressed and worried about going out.

The barrister added that within two weeks the defendant had moved on to a different girl and he had demonstrated some “grooming behaviour”.

But Piers Marquis, defending, disputed this and said his client was a “vulnerable individual” with the literacy age of a seven year old.

He said: “The pre-sentence report very specifically states that he is not a sexual predator. What there was in this case was an entirely inappropriate sexual relationship.”

Mr Marquis said Froude now admitted to having a “moment of madness” and deeply regretted what he had done.

He told Judge Gordon Risius that his client had also suffered from depression and had been treated by the county’s mental health services.

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The barrister added that because of the case his family’s home had been attacked and graffiti had been sprayed on their car.

Judge Risius said that he accepted the defendant had serious problems but also said he had noticed in the court’s paper that he drove a “powerful” BMW.

He told Froude: “I do not consider that your difficulties justify treating you as barely responsible for your conduct in this case. You told the author of the pre-sentence report that you knew the girl was under 16 and your behaviour was a moment of madness.”

Froude was made subject to a sexual offences prevention order and will also have to pay a £120 victims’ surcharge.

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