Man met underage girl for sex at Hartlepool hotel

Teesside Crown Court
Teesside Crown Court

A man was arrested for having underage sex with a girl after suspicious hotel workers in Hartlepool called the police.

David Proffitt and his alleged victim checked into the hotel in the town where he had booked a twin room despite there being single rooms available.

Proffitt, 40, of Valiant Drive, Hull, told police he had not had sex with the girl, then changed his story to say sex had taken place on previous occasions but only after she turned 16.

“The prosecution say sex took place five or six times before her 16th birthday,” prosecutor Anthony Dunn told a jury at Teesside Crown Court.

“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.”

Proffit denies inciting a child to engage in a sexual act, and he denies five charges of sexual activity with a child.

Proffit also denies making indecent photographs of a child.

“Police searched his mobile phone,” said Mr Dunn.

“There was seven photographs of the victim with her top exposed, and a video file of her naked.

“It is illegal to possess such images of a girl under 18.”

Judge Simon Bourne-Arton told the jury there was no stereotypical child abuser or victim.

“The experience of the courts is this can happen with all types of people,” said the judge.

“There is also no stereotypical reaction either from the victim or the abuser.

“If you had any stereotypes in your minds, please put them out of your minds.”

The trial is expected to last four days.

Proceeding.