Jail for man who got girl (15) pregnant
A man who gave his teenage lover abortion drugs when she fell pregnant during their affair has been jailed for a total of seven years.
Handing down the sentence to 33-year-old Christopher Paul Buckham, Belfast Recorder Judge Tom Burgess said he had looked for a "scintilla of concern for her but, no matter how hard one looks, finds none".
He said that having groomed the 15-year-old girl through internet chat rooms and texting, Buckham lied to her about having fertility problems.
The judge said that after the girl fell pregnant, he gave her abortion drugs and then left her to deal with the emotional and physical fallout from the termination, and so "his behaviour requires to be visited with condign punishment".
Buckham, whose address cannot be reported, pleaded guilty to eight charges of sexual activity with a child and one further charge of supplying a poison to procure a miscarriage on various dates between June 19, 2009 and May 22, 2010.
Previously the court had heard that Buckham became friendly with the girl, who at the beginning was only 14, through internet chat rooms and then by text messages, although sexual activity did not start until she was 15.
Buckham, whose wife was trying to conceive at the time, told the schoolgirl he had fertility problems so the pair had unprotected sex.
"The truth of the matter," Judge Burgess told Belfast Crown Court yesterday, "was that the defendant did not suffer from infertility and that became clear when his wife became pregnant".
He said that Buckham's attitude "displayed a callousness and indifference" to his victim's interests, but added that while that was "totally reprehensible and abhorrent, worse was to come".
Buckham ordered abortion drugs and got the teenager to take them.
Judge Burgess said the dangers to her health would have been "perfectly obvious" to Buckham but that "in short, he abandoned this young girl".
"He showed total indifference to her," said the judge. He added that after the pregnancy ended "the defendant was only too happy to recommence the relationship, his only gesture of protection of her interests being to indulge in sex by wearing a condom".
As well as the seven-year jail term, Judge Burgess ordered Buckham to sign the sex offenders' register for life and, as part of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order, barred him from ever contacting his victim again.