Man admits breaking sexual offences prevention order by spending a night in a park with a 14-year-old girl

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A former Daventry man breached a court order for the fourth time by spending a night in a park with a teenage schoolgirl.

Ashley Dowd had originally denied breaching the Sexual Offences Prevention Order, imposed in 2009 when he was sentenced for having sex with an under-age girl.

But Dowd, 25, formerly of Hillary Close, Ashby Fields, Daventry, changed his plea to guilty on the day of his trial at Warwick Crown Court.

Prosecutor Raj Punia said that in October 2009 Dowd had been given a 12 month suspended sentence for sexual activity with a teenage Daventry girl.

He was also made subject to a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) for seven years, banning him from having unsupervised contact with any child under the age of 16.

In June last year, a teenage girl, still in her school uniform and in the company of a woman, met Dowd and two other young men at around 8pm in Rugby.

They walked round and then went into Caldecott Park, where Dowd left them and then returned with a tent which he set up in the park.

He and the schoolgirl spent the next few hours together, with both of them smoking and Dowd also drinking, before she left to go home in the early hours of the morning.

After the police were then informed about an unrelated matter it became clear that Dowd had been in her company, said Miss Punia.

When he was arrested Dowd accepted he was aware of the conditions of the SOPO. Dowd said he believed she was over the age of 16, but agreed he had not taken any steps to establish her age – and he entered his plea on the basis that he thought she was 16, but should have checked.

Judge Alan Parker commented: “It’s difficult to sentence on the grounds that his action was predatory when the prosecution have accepted his basis of plea.”

Miss Punia said it was the fourth time Dowd had breached the order, since 2009, when he was also ordered to register as a sex offender for 10 years.

Colin Charvill, defending, said: “The aggravating feature is the earlier breaches of the order. There is no substantive offence, and no indication of premeditation or predatory conduct. The girl makes it quite clear that Mr Dowd had never indicated that he did anything sexual. He was just in her company.

“He has been in custody since September, so has served the equivalent of more than 12 months already.

“I would suggest he has perhaps served enough time,” Mr Charvill submitted.

The judge adjourned the case until next month for attempts to be made to find a place at a probation hostel for Dowd, who was remanded in custody until then.