Court hears of Callington man's alleged sex with girl aged only 14
A CALLINGTON man's attraction to under-age girls led to him taking a 14-year-old girl's virginity on Valentine's Day, a court has heard.
Mark Phillips, 23, went on trial at Truro Crown Court on Monday accused of having sex with a child and breaching a number of legal orders.
Joss Ticehurst, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said: "Mr Phillips is a man for whom a combination of disregard for authority and an attraction to young females is a dangerous mix.
"He enjoys the attention of young female schoolgirls aged between 12 and 15."
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Mr Ticehurst said Phillips, of Pollard Road, started a relationship with a 14-year-old, who cannot be named for legal reasons, in October 2011.
At first she tried to keep her boyfriend's age secret from her parents, telling them he was 18 when in reality he was 21, the court was told.
Her parents did find out, tried to end the relationship and went to the police who issued a child abduction warning notice, instructing Phillips not to see the girl, but a short while later she was found in his bedroom.
In April 2012 Phillips was convicted of child abduction.
Mr Ticehurst said: "Although it was obvious that people had concerns, the detail of that relationship was not fully known.
"It is now clear that in 2012 and into 2013 she was still very much under the spell of Mark Phillips."
The girl later told police they had first had sex on Valentine's Day 2012, when she was still only 14.
In August 2012 police obtained a court order banning Phillips from having contact with under-age girls but, the prosecution said, he ignored it. He is accused of having contact with three other girls between February and March this year, one aged 12.
Mr Ticehurst said: "A person who is 14 is at an age [when] adults can hold great sway over [them]. The case against Mr Phillips is an example of an adult taking advantage of that adult/child relationship, abusing her for his own pleasure."
Phillips, who denies the charges, is accused of three counts of sexual activity with a child, one of assault by beating and one of committing an offence with intent to commit a sexual offence. These relate to the 14-year-old and are said to have taken place between February 14, 2012, and March 22 this year. He is also charged with seven counts of breaching a Risk of Sexual Harm order imposed on him at Truro Magistrates' Court on August 30 last year.
The trial continues.