An aircraft engineer who befriended a schoolgirl over the internet and performed sexual acts with her in a Blackpool hotel room has been jailed for 28 months.
Comic con enthusiast Alexander Charles Allen, 31, first met his victim online on a website related to the hobby they shared, which sees people dress as their favourite comic characters and attend conventions.
This was clearly a relationship that started when he was 29 and she was 15
The 31-year-old, of Pinewood Drive Cheltenham, Gloucester, and the victim later met up at one such event, Preston Crown Court was told.
Allen then struck up a relationship with the 15-year-old girl from Chorley and had lewd conversations with her online.
Prosecuting, Paul Brookwell said they had engaged in sexual activity in a hotel room in Blackpool.
Similar offences also took place in his car after he had met the victim in the Wigan area in September 2015.
After the girl’s mother learned of the relationship and became concerned, he sent the woman letters declaring his love for the schoolgirl.
Mr Brookwell said: “This was clearly a relationship that started when he was 29 and she was 15. The age disparity is an aggravating factor. Like all 15-year-olds they think they are older than they are. The chat on the internet turned to explicit chat before the sexual activity took place.”
Allen admitted charges of sexual activity with a child and two counts of intentionally touching the girl.
In a personal impact statement the girl, who is now 17 and cannot be identified for legal reasons, said when she realised the relationship was a ‘fantasy’ she had felt depressed, felt that nobody liked her and that she didn’t ‘fit in’.
Defending, Tom Lord said Allen was sexually and emotionally naive about relationships and was of previous good character.
He said: “He has expressed fantastical views about love and marriage and taking a relationship forward.”
Sentencing, Judge Heather Lloyd said, in addition to the custodial sentence, Allen would be on the barring list and imposed a 10-year sexual harm prevention order.