Jobless man let 'infatuated' 14-year-old-girl hide in his airing cupboard
A JOBLESS man has been jailed for letting a schoolgirl hide in an airing cupboard at his home – five weeks after being ordered to stay away from her.
Nottingham’s most senior judge said it was a case of a 14-year-old girl needing protecting from herself after becoming “infatuated” with a man more than twice her age.
Scot Umphray, 31, was put on the Sex Offenders’ Register for ten years and jailed for a year after admitting abduction and sexual activity with a child.
Nottingham Crown Court heard that the pair developed a relationship on Facebook and shared a kiss – although they did not have sex.
Sentencing Umphray, of Derby Road, Stapleford, Judge Michael Stokes QC told him: “With an age gap of this proportion, it has to be made clear with this sort of involvement with children – and she is a child – that custody will follow.
“This is a very real problem where young girls are perhaps physically sexually mature much earlier than 30 or 40 years ago. But they are not intellectually or psychologically any more mature. You were substantially older than her – double her age.”
Umphray first met the girl in a library in Nottingham city centre before sending her a Facebook message. They became friends and he initially claimed to be 22, although she soon discovered his real age, later telling police: “I don’t care. I really like him.”
The girl, described as a “troubled teenager”, asked Umphray to become her boyfriend. She insisted they had not had sex but told officers they shared “a kiss on the lips”.
Dawn Pritchard, prosecuting, said: “There has been an element of grooming here. He told her he would wait until he was ready to do other things.”
After the girl’s family raised concerns, police visited Umphray at his flat.
On April 5, he was issued with a Child Abduction Warning Notice, barring him from making any contact with the girl.
But on May 9, she left her Nottingham home and stayed out all night.
Police called at the flat the next morning and found the girl.
In mitigation, Simon Eckersley said she had willingly visited Umphray’s flat.
“There was no imprisonment, no sexual offences were committed, they hugged.
She was easily found,” he told the court.
“When police arrived, it was the girl’s idea to hide in the airing cupboard.”
The court was told the offence was committed while Umphray was on a suspended sentence for assaulting a former partner.