A Littlehampton man has been given a suspended sentence after admitting five counts of sexual activity involving a child.
Daniel Goodchild, 20, was sentenced at Chichester Crown Court on Friday for offences comitted two years ago, when he was 18, concerning a girl whom he knew was under 16 at the time.
Goodchild. of Bayford Road, Littlehampton, had previously pleaded guilty to three counts of sexual activity with a child, one count of coercing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, and one charge of sexual activity of a rough nature.
He was given a 12-month sentence, suspended for two years.
In addition, he will be subject to a 12 month supervision order supervised by the probation service, a sexual harm prevention order, and will have to register with the police.
Sentencing Goodchild, whose family and girlfriend sat in the public gallery, Judge John Hardy said: “You have pleaded guilty to conduct that you know is wrong.
“The victim was and is a vulnerable person and what you did was wrong and serious.
“In sentencing you I deal with you as an individual but the message must go out to all young people.
“The law regulates how we conduct relationships with one another and thousands of years have allowed us to recognise what is good for you and what is not.”
The judge pointed out that, concerning the charge of sexual activity of a rough nature, had Goodchild not stopped when asked to by the victim, he would have been convicted of rape and given a sentence of at least five years in prison.
Earlier in the hearing, Judge Hardy made it clear that it would be within sentencing guidelines for him to send the defendant to prison.
However, he pointed out that a custodial sentence would be unlikely to include any rehabilitative work, and that a suspended sentence might be a better option.
“If he steps out of line by a millimetre, he would be back before the court,” the judge said.
“He would be at risk of that suspended sentence being activated and in the meantime he would be supervised by the probation service.”
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