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Monday, 28 July 2014

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Ex-chip shop manager jailed for sex with Cumbria schoolgirl

The former manager of a Penrith fish and chip shop has been sent to prison for four and a half years for having a three-year sexual relationship with a schoolgirl.

Michael Christie photo
Michael Christie, of Penrith: Jailed for four and a half years after being found guilty of three charges of indecently assaulting a girl when she was 13 and six of sexual activity with her when she was 14 or 15

Related: Cumbria schoolgirl sex man refused to leave prison cell to be sentenced

Michael John Christie, 42, lately of Mill Street, Penrith, was also put on the Sex Offenders’ Register and banned from having unsupervised contact with children – both indefinitely – when he appeared at Carlisle Crown Court to be sentenced yesterday.

Christie had been found guilty after a trial in May of three charges of indecently assaulting the girl when she was 13 and six of sexual activity with her when she was 14 or 15.

Some of those charges were just specimens to reflect his pattern of alleged behaviour in that time.

During the trial in May the court heard how Christie, a part-time fireman, began seducing the girl when she was just 13.

Christie first had sex with her when she was 14 and went on doing so until she was 17 and mature enough to realise their relationship – which he told her was true love – had no future.

The girl, who is now grown up, told the jury that she frequently bunked off school to have sex with him at his home, in his chip shop or in his car during trips to the countryside and that he liked to film her as she performed sex acts with him.

She only told the police years later after he refused to give back compromising photographs he had taken of her partially clothed.

Christie, who gave up the Angel Lane chip shop in 2007 to become a driving instructor, claimed her allegations were all false and just the result of her “fantasising”.

In mitigation, defence barrister Keith Thomas said that though Christie had at first denied doing anything wrong, he now accepted what he had done and what a serious affect it had had on the girl’s life.

Sentencing him, Judge Barbara Forrester told Christie that it was clear the girl had been flattered by his attention.

“She thought she was enjoying a loving relationship with you but it is quite clear you were exploiting her for the sexual activity,” she said.

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