Man, 40, facing jail after being found guilty of sex offences against girl

The case was heard at Teesside Crown Court
The case was heard at Teesside Crown Court

A 40-year-old man was warned he faces years in prison after he was convicted of having underage sex with a girl.

David Proffitt claimed the girl was over 16 years when he began a sexual relationship with her.

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

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 via the social media app Whatsapp.”

“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.”

Proffit, 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, applied for bail pending sentence to enable Proffitt to visit his father who is in intensive care in hospital in Middlesbrough.

Judge Simon Bourne-Arton bailed Proffitt to live in Hull until he is sentenced.

“I have some sympathy with your family situation,” the judge told him.

“You may visit your father in hospital, but you must stay well away from Hartlepool and you must not have any contact with your victim or her family.

“You should realise you are facing a substantial prison sentence.”

Judge Bourne-Arton adjourned passing sentence until May 8.