Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Man who abducted girl avoids prison

Brian Knowles pleaded guilty to child abduction after he sent the teenager text messages, took her shopping and ate with her at restaurants
Brian Knowles pleaded guilty to child abduction after he sent the teenager text messages, took her shopping and ate with her at restaurants

A former deputy headteacher has been spared jail after admitting abducting a 15-year-old and taking her out for meals.

Married Brian Knowles, 58, pleaded guilty to four charges of child abduction after he sent the teenager inappropriate text messages, took her shopping and ate with her at McDonald's fast food restaurants.

Warwick Crown Court, sitting at Leamington Spa, heard that Knowles was deputy head at Barr's Hill School in Radford, Coventry.

Sentencing him to nine months in prison, suspended for two years, Judge Marten Coates told Knowles he was satisfied he did not pose an adequate enough threat to children in the future to impose an immediate custodial sentence.

He told Knowles, who appeared in the dock wearing a dark suit and looking at the judge as he spoke: "Cases of abducting a child can vary immensely on their facts. The public are always very concerned when they hear the offence abduction of a child and you have pleaded guilty to four such offences."

He went on: "During your association with that girl you took a liking to her and you allowed your contact with her to stray from the high professional standards which the public demand from people in your position, which I suspect you've given in the past."

He added: "The consequences of your behaviour here have resulted in you losing your job, you have lost your reputation and such is the shame which you understandably feel, you've moved away from Coventry to live with your wife elsewhere."

Harinderpal Dhami, prosecuting, told the court: "He had said if he was 40 years younger he would not let her say no, and she said did he not realise he could lose everything? He said she was worth it."

Their relationship was not sexual and there were no instances of violence or touching, the court heard.

Judge Coates did not impose a sexual offences prevention order as part of sentence but put in place a 12 month supervision order. Knowles was also ordered to pay prosecution costs of £1,800.

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