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Unrepentant Mark Phillips, 23, or Callington, groomed 14-year-old for sex

By Cornish Guardian  |  Posted: December 04, 2013

By Johanna Carr

JAILED FOR SIX YEARS:  Mark Phillips, of Callington, who a probation officer said in a pre-sentence report "poses a high level of risk to girls and young women".

JAILED FOR SIX YEARS: Mark Phillips, of Callington, who a probation officer said in a pre-sentence report "poses a high level of risk to girls and young women".

AN UNREPENTANT young Callington man who groomed a 14-year-old girl for sex before taking her virginity on Valentine's Day has been jailed for six years.

Mark Phillips, 23, was given an extended sentence when he appeared at Truro Crown Court on Friday, which means he will spend at least four years in jail and have an extended parole period once he is released.

Phillips was convicted by a jury last month of three counts of sexual activity with a child.

Joss Ticehurst, for the Crown Prosecution Service, previously told the court that Phillips, of Pollard Road, started a relationship with a 14-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, in October 2011.

At first she tried to keep her boyfriend's age secret from her parents, telling them he was 18 when in reality he was 21, the court was told.

Her parents did find out, tried to end the relationship and went to the police who issued a child abduction warning notice, instructing Phillips not to see the girl, but a short while later she was found in his bedroom.

In April 2012 Phillips was convicted of child abduction.

The girl later told police they had first had sex on Valentine's Day 2012, when she was still only 14.

In August 2012 police obtained a court order banning Phillips from having contact with under-age girls but he ignored it.

He was also found guilty of five counts of breaching a Risk of Sexual Harm order by having contact with three other girls between February and March this year.

He was further convicted of committing an offence with intent to commit a sexual offence.

Barrie van den Berg, for the defence, said Phillips did not accept the offences and never had done.

He said he was a young man facing a number of years in prison.

A pre-sentence report on Phillips, prepared by the probation service, described him as a man who would continue to pose a danger to young women.

It said: "Mr Phillips poses a high level of risk to girls and young women … unless he is willing to accept his guilt the risk he poses is highly unlikely to diminish."

Sentencing, Recorder Paul Garlick, QC, said: "I do not regard the difference in age between you and [the victim] as a mitigating factor.

"At the age of 22 you were just the sort of man who was likely to be successful in making the overtures that you did to this woman … I am satisfied that your contact towards her has really devastated her life.

"I do not think it is overstating the case to say that you have destroyed her teenage years and she will need many years to recover from your activities. You groomed her for sex."

Phillips was made the subject of a sexual offences prevention order and will be a registered sex offender indefinitely.