A hospital porter has been jailed for 18 years for raping and fathering a child with a young runaway who took refuge at his home.
Christopher Seldon, aged 46, took in the 15-year-old after she fled violence at home and was trusted with her care by social workers because of his responsible job at the Royal Devon and Exeter Hospital.
He posed as a Good Samaritan but used violence to force the vulnerable virgin to have sex with him, threatening to throw her back onto the streets if she told anyone.
Seldon’s threats cowed her into silence for almost five years but when she plucked up the courage to go to the police he laughed off her allegations.
He was trapped because DNA tests proved he was the father of her child. He then changed his story and claimed she had not only consented but initiated sex.
Seldon, of Spenser Avenue, Exeter, denied but was found guilty of four rapes and a sexual assault on the girl who stayed at his home for a few weeks in 2007.
He was jailed for 18 years by Judge Mr Justice Burnett at Exeter Crown Court, who made a Sexual Offences Prevention Order banning unsupervised contact with under age girls and put him on the sex offenders’ register for life.
The judge told him:”You were supposed to provide this girl with a stable and safe environment in contrast to the one she had been removed from. Instead, within a matter of weeks, you were using her as a sexual plaything.
“When you raped her you failed to use any protection and as a result she became pregnant with your child although she told nobody you were the father until last year.
“What you did was as an appalling breach of trust as is imaginable. Eventually you accepted you had sex twice, but only twice and you carefully crafted the dates to coordinate with the birth date of her child.
“You said she not only consented but initiated sex. The jury completely disbelieved your attempts to stigmatise her as a willing participant and a bare faced liar.
“You abused her persistently and made clear to her that no-one would believe her. It seems nobody did until the DNA test showed you were the father of her child, which gave her account credence.
“These offences are very serious. It is clear you have a sexual attraction to young girls which is very likely to stay with you so it is necessary to protect the public from you.
“The aggravating features of your offending are that your victim was a child of 15 who had been placed with you for her own protection, so this is a gross breach of trust.
“You made threats that played on her vulnerability to prevent her from reporting your offences. The most potent aggravating feature is her pregnancy.
“I have read the very affecting victim impact statement which illustrates the appalling consequences. There is, in truth, no real mitigation.”
The victim told the jury at the trial earlier this month that Seldon attacked her after coming back from work at the hospital to find her on her own watching television.
She was left confused, upset, bleeding and in pain after the attack but was told she would be thrown onto the streets or into council care if she told anyone.
In the next few weeks she was assaulted up to 11 times more before she fled Seldon’s house. She had been taken in by him after fleeing violence in her own family.
Social workers approved her staying there because at the time Seldon was an apparently respectable family man who appeared to be happily married with a stepdaughter and a stable and responsible job at the hospital.
When she finally reported the assaults Seldon told police:” It is ludicrous, it is rubbish.” He laughed when officers suggested he was the father of the girl’s child and said:“It’s not mine.”
Mr Andrew MacFarlane, prosecuting, said the girl had was left with vivid and indelible memories of the abuse.
He said:”She says she can still recalL his smell of stale tea and smoke. She was defenceless. She said he hurt her but the psychological pain was worse.
“She said afterwards she just sat there crying and not knowing what to do. She had nobody to talk to or to tell and that he painted a picture of everything being normal when other people were around.
“She said if she struggled, it made it worse and she felt like a dead shell and as if she was dying inside.”
Seldon said she initiated sex during a pillow fight after he came home after drinking with friends.
Mr David Evans, defending, said the case had torn Seldon’s family apart and led to the break up of his marriage.