Beds, Herts & Bucks

Houghton Regis man jailed over sex with 12-year-old

A 44-year-old man from Bedfordshire has been jailed for 10 years after admitting raping a girl he first had a sexual relationship with when she was 12.

Peter Hagland, of Bloomsbury Gardens in Houghton Regis, had the relationship with the girl for two years.

He pleaded guilty at Luton Crown Court to three charges of rape and nine of sexual activity with a child.

The relationship ended when the girl confided in a teacher at her school.

Judge Richard Foster told Hagland: "You have taken away her childhood and she might never recover."

Bozzie Sheffi, prosecuting, said Hagland began by buying the girl things and giving her extra money.

Confided in teacher

She said: "She later told police she thought she loved him.

"The first time they had intercourse was in December 2006 and she was confused and shocked."

Miss Sheffi said that over the following 23 months Hagland and the girl were intimate on numerous occasions.

In November 2008, the girl had tried to end the relationship and she confided in a support teacher at her school.

He was arrested the same month but made no comment in interview.

Liam Walker, defending, said: "He accepts the relationship he embarked on was wholly unacceptable.

"But the Crown do not dispute that they were largely consensual acts between them. He recognises his failings."

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