Man guilty of trying to buy sexual favour

JON WELCH A 41-year-old man was found guilty yesterday of asking a 14-year-old girl for a sexual favour in exchange for a £20 note. Patrick Collins, of Brailsford Close, Dereham, approached the girl in a car park in Watton on September 1 last year, Norwich Crown Court heard.

JON WELCH

A 41-year-old man was found guilty yesterday of asking a 14-year-old girl for a sexual favour in exchange for a £20 note.

Patrick Collins, of Brailsford Close, Dereham, approached the girl in a car park in Watton on September 1 last year, Norwich Crown Court heard.

The girl said Collins had approached her and some other youngsters in a car park near the town's Somerfield store with a £20 note clearly visible in his hand.

She said Collins, a married man, offered her the money if she performed a sex act on him, but she refused and ran off.

Collins denied inciting a child to engage in sexual activity. He admitting he had been looking for sex during his lunch hour, but said he had only asked the girl her for directions to a massage parlour and had not propositioned her.

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He admitting asking her age, but maintained that was because he realised he should not have been talking about sexual matters with a girl so young.

Greg Rollins, prosecuting, said Collins had propositioned the girl in a “sick and sordid” way.

“Even by his own account he's behaved in a shockingly inappropriate way. What sort of man behaves that way?” he said.

David Wilson, defending, told the jury: “Be careful not to demonise this defendant and convict him because he has been stupid and inappropriate and has behaved in a morally reprehensible way, because all of these he accepts.”

He asked the jury to consider whether Collins was a “Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em” figure whose day had escalated out of control.

“Yes, he should not have asked the girl where a massage parlour was and yes, he should not have gone walking with her when she offered to help him look.

“If it was not in this defendant's mind that he wanted sexual activity with this girl, the verdict is not guilty.”

Summing up, Judge Simon Barham said: “Why would this man involve a girl of 14 in his planned sexual actitivity? If he wanted to get to a massage parlour why did he ask children where it was? Why did he have a £20 note visible? Is it possible these girls could be mistaken in their account of what he said?”

The jury of nine men and three women deliberated for an hour. When the guilty verdict was announced, Collins gave a loud moan from the dock.

The court heard Collins had a previous conviction for indecent exposure.

The judge deferred sentence until May 4 for reports.