Beds, Herts & Bucks

Baker jailed over sex with girl, 14, in Hertfordshire

A 40-year-old baker who had sex with an 14-year-old girl in Hertfordshire has been jailed for four years.

Lee Tiffney, of Stevenage, took full advantage of a vulnerable girl for his own sexual gratification, Luton Crown Court heard.

He could not admit to the charge due to the "shame" of relatives knowing.

As a result he subjected his victim to the ordeal of giving evidence twice as two trials were held, Judge David Farrell QC said.

Tiffney, of Coventry Close, Stevenage was convicted of having sexual activity with a child when he was aged 38 and she was 24 years younger.

After being convicted, following a second trial, he admitted to a probation officer that he had sex with the girl, but said it only happened twice. During the two trials he had denied anything happened.

Exploited vulnerability

Prosecutor Jan Hayne said: "He had a sexual relationship with her over a period of time. They had sex most nights."

Katherine Mansfield, defending, said that Tiffney had been assessed as being of a low risk of re-offending.

"He has made admissions and it was not a pattern of behaviour," she said. "At last he has unburdened himself of his awful secret. He realises the relationship was totally inappropriate."

Judge Farrell told him: "It is a great shame you could not bring yourself to make admissions earlier to spare her the ordeal of giving evidence not once, but twice.

"You could have had the courage to prevent her having to relive her ordeal. You exploited her vulnerability by taking advantage of her for your own sexual gratification.

"It is an appalling piece of behaviour. She was only 14."

Tiffney must register as a sex offender for life and was banned from working with children.

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