January 2020

Man, 51, sexually assaulted teenager and told her ‘he loved her’

A 51-year-old man made a “massive mistake” when he sent sexual messages to a 14-year-old girl and touched her.

The comment was made by a judge as he ordered Philip Potter to sign the sex offenders’ register and gave him a restraining order for seven years.

Potter would tell her “he loved her”, said Dawn Pritchard, prosecuting, and he “couldn’t stop thinking about her”.

The girl took screenshots of the messages and deleted them, Nottingham Crown Court heard.

But things moved on when he touched her thigh and knee, when she was wearing trousers, and called her sexy.

“He knelt next to her, and she found this strange,” said Miss Pritchard, who said Potter had been drinking. “He moved his head towards her. She described it ‘as going in to kiss her, a bit like how they go in to kiss in movies’.

“She put her hand up to stop him and said ‘no'”.

He continued to message her to say he was sorry and seemed to acknowledge he should not have done what he did, said Miss Pritchard.

Potter, of Clifton Grove, Mansfield, was arrested and pleaded guilty to sexually assaulting her.

The girl – whose identity is protected for life – said in a statement she was “hurt by his behaviour” and “it played constantly on my mind”.

“It flashes into her head,” said Miss Pritchard. “It affected her sleep and eating habits. She wanted to block out what happened to her”.

The offence did not relate to his job.

Potter – who had no previous convictions – received a three-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, and 40 rehabilitation activity days. He was also given a seven-year sexual harm prevention order.