Man jailed for eight years continues to deny he had sex with underage girl

David Proffitt.
David Proffitt.

A 40-year-old man who had sex with an under-age girl has been jailed for eight years.

David Proffitt admitted sex took place, claiming the girl was over 16 at the time.

The case was heard at Teesside Crown Court.

The case was heard at Teesside Crown Court.

The girl said she was a willing partner, but a jury at Teesside Crown Court was told she could not give consent legally while she was under 16.

In a victim personal statement, the girl said she now hates Proffitt for lying to her and taking advantage of her.

She said giving evidence in court was stressful, and Proffitt could have saved her the ordeal by admitting what he had done.

An inquiry began after Proffitt and the girl checked into a twin-bedded hotel room in Hartlepool.

She was 16 at the time, but staff were still suspicious of the couple and called the police.

"The prosecution say sex took place five or six times before her 16th birthday," said Anthony Dunn, prosecuting.

"The girl says she was a willing partner, but she or any person under 16 cannot legally consent to sexual activity.

"The issues in this case are very simple.

"We say Proffitt knew or ought to have known the girl was not 16."

The jury heard sex took place at a house in Hartlepool occupied by Proffitt before he moved to Hull without warning.

"He didn't tell his landlord he was going," Mr Dunn told the jury. "However, he kept in touch with the victim."

"The pair of them arranged to meet in Hartlepool and checked into the hotel as a couple, but Proffitt was careful to avoid being seen in public with her.

"For example, he told her not to meet him at the railway station because there would be people about.

"They were in the same room when Proffitt was arrested, but there was no sexual activity taking place at that time.

"When interviewed by police, he eventually admitted sex had taken place, but only after the girl's 16th birthday."

Proffitt, 40, of Valiant Drive, Hull, denied inciting a child to engage in a sexual act, and he denied five charges of sexual activity with a child.

Proffit denied making indecent photographs of a child.

The jury heard photographs of the girl topless and naked were found on his mobile phone.

Proffitt was convicted by the jury of all charges.

Yvonne Taylor, defending, said in mitigation: "Mr Proffitt still denies the offences, and his pre-sentence report does not make good reading.

"He was a man of hitherto good character, he is not in the best of health, and this will be his first time in prison.

"Mr Proffitt has three children, one of whom still lives with him.

"It is likely he will lose his home, which is something else the family will have to deal with."

Judge Simon Bourne-Arton jailed Proffitt for eight years.

The judge told him: "You told the probation officer you have no sexual interest in young children, but that is a lie, you do have such an interest.

"You groomed the victim in this case, then abandoned her after having your way with her at least four or five times, possibly a dozen times.

"On the other side is your poor health and previous good character."

Proffitt was made the subject of an indefinite order limiting his unsupervised contact with children, and he must register as a sex offender for life.