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Deal mother's betrayal by former friend Karen Ackland who seduced son of 14 three decades her junior

By Paul Hooper
Karen Ackland at Canterbury Crown Court in July, where she admitted three charges of sexual activity with a child. Picture: Mike Gunnill

A mother has spoken of her heartache at the betrayal by a party-loving former friend who seduced her 14-year-old son in their home.

The mother, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was sickened to discover Karen Ackland, 44, had taken advantage of her son - who is 30 years her junior.

Divorced mother-of-two Ackland was at an event celebrating the youngster's football achievements when she first set eyes on him. After hours of drinking, the boy's mother offered Ackland a bed at their home.

Ackland pounced on the boy as he got ready for bed and used him as her "sex object" - only to be rumbled when his older brother heard her making sex noises.

Deal woman Karen Ackland seduced a schoolboy 30 years her junior after a drunken night out. Picture: Mike Gunnill

She was sentenced to a nine-month jail sentence - suspended for a year - at Canterbury Crown Court.

Judge Simon James said Ackland had "immediately regretted" her behaviour and although committed in drink he said "that does not afford you any real excuses".

"He added the law was to protect teenagers from doing things they might later regret.

The youngster's distraught mother called for harsher sentences for female sex offenders.

She said: "I never expected her to do this, you trust your friends. And he was just a child.

'I never expected her to do this, you trust your friends. And he was just a child'

"She was always a party animal and when she had too many drinks she completely loses all self-respect and embarrasses herself.

"She used to always say 'I'm a nightmare when I've had a drink' and she'd always have a few men on the go.

"But I was a great friend to her and I stood by her. I never expected this.

"When my son was interviewed I was welling up. He looked exhausted, he was emotionally drained. It was absolutely harrowing to hear.

"She was very domineering and my son said as soon as it happened that he'd wished he'd never done it."

She added: "I think women should have as long sentences as men. It's exactly the same sexual act.

"It shouldn't be any different for men and women and if she had been a man I think she would have had a jail sentence."

Ackland first set eyes on her young victim at the football event on April 27 last year.

She managed to avoid an immediate jail sentence after she admitted three charges of sexual activity with a child.

The mother-of-two changed her pleas to guilty just minutes before a trial was due to start when the boy was expected to have been called to give evidence. Her barrister Dominic Webber asked the judge what the maximum sentence was likely to be if she entered guilty pleas.

After a few minutes, Ackland returned from a cigarette break and admitted the offences and was given a nine month jail sentence suspended for a year.

The court heard that they were discovered when the boy’s older brother heard noises coming from a bedroom. Ackland was heard talking to the boy during their sex session, at one point saying: “I can’t believe I’m doing this."

Prosecutor Andrew Espley told the hearing: “She was drunk at the time and used the teenager AS a sexual object.”

He said the two had met at a social event when a group of friends had returned to the boy’s house when “everyone did three shots of vodka”.

“They were standing near a fridge and the teenager was backed into a
little corner cabinet and then they kissed.”

Later the group went to another house and when Ackland and the boy were alone, she suggested they have sex.

Mr Espley said they were then disturbed by others arriving and Ackland
tried to get the boy to walk her home on the pretext she had lost her phone.

The prosecutor said that in the end she stayed at the house, stripped
off and indulged in sex games before the two had intercourse.

A court heard Karen Ackland was discovered when the boy’s older brother heard noises coming from a bedroom. Picture: Mike Gunnill

Mr Espley added: “What she did caused them to be discovered.”
The victim would later tell a friend: “I went to get into my trackies
and she stripped naked in front of me. Yeah we had sex but it was
really weird.”

The prosecutor said within days the incident was the talk of the
school and was then reported to the authorities.

Ackland told a friend: “He tried to kiss me. I’m a 40-year-old woman,
what am I supposed to do?”

Mr Webber said the Tesco shelf-stacker had grown up in Germany the
daughter of a father who was in the military.

She married in 1993 but was now divorced with two teenage children.
He said: “She accepts that this was extremely irresponsible behaviour
and she admits to being a binge drinker.”

She was ordered to sign the Sex Offenders’ Register for 10 years and
pay £500 court costs.

The boy cannot be named for legal reasons.

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