Man jailed for 'affair' with vulnerable youth

COURT REPORT A MAN who corrupted a vulnerable youth and sexually abused him at his home has been jailed for five years. David Darlington allowed the boy, who had been expelled from school, to drink alcohol and smoke cannabis at his home and look at por

COURT REPORT

A MAN who 'corrupted' a vulnerable youth and sexually abused him at his home has been jailed for five years.

David Darlington allowed the boy, who had been expelled from school, to drink alcohol and smoke cannabis at his home and look at pornographic magazines.

He also let him help repair cars and took him on trips to London before beginning a sexual "affair" with him.

Darlington, 41, but with a lower mental age, claimed it was a loving and consensual relationship. But Judge Richard Foster told him on Friday: "That was not the relationship. This was you taking advantage of a vulnerable young person for your own sexual desires. It was nothing more and nothing less than that.

"You corrupted him and groomed him for this sexually illegal behaviour and that is seriously criminal."

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Darlington was living at Rudd Close, Stevenage, when he committed the offences in about 1998. He pleaded guilty at Luton Crown Court to three charges of gross indecency, three of indecent assault and one specimen charge of a serious sexual assault.

Prosecutor Isabel Delamere told the court that the victim had learning difficulties. He began visiting Darlington when he was expelled from school.

The sexual abuse began after Darlington had taken him on a trip to London and progressed to full sex.

"It is not suggested that he was made to do anything he did not want to do, but there came a point when he did not want it to happen any more."

She said he decided to tell police after he became a father last year and Darlington was arrested at his new home in Essex.

He denied most of the allegations and only pleaded guilty on the day his trial was due to begin.

Robert Rinder, defending, said: "Reports suggest that he had a limited capacity to understand that this was anything other than a reasonable consensual relationship. He did not go out looking for children. There was a friendship here before any sexual activity."

Darlington was also ordered to register as a sex offender for life and never work with children or be alone with anyone under 16.

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