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Ex-parish councillor pervert Edward Bassett groomed girl with Ann Summers gifts

Maidstone crown court

Edward Bassett will be sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court

by Keith Hunt

A former parish councillor had sexual intercourse with a teenage girl several times after grooming her, a court heard.

Edward Bassett bought the victim pornography, a vibrator and underwear from Ann Summers sex shops and abused her when she turned 16.

Now the 53-year-old, of Bottom Pond Road, Wormshill, near Sittingbourne, could be facing a jail sentence.

Bassett - who ran GB Adventures, providing worldwide canoeing and kayaking trips for disabled youngsters - admitted six offences of sexual activity with a child.

He was arrested at his former home in Sutton Valence, Maidstone, less than a month after he was elected to the parish council. He resigned before the meeting on March 8.

Iestyn Morgan, prosecuting, said Bassett's contact with the girl became inappropriate after he had a motorcycle accident in 2003.

He would send her sexual text messages "in the guise of another individual".

"When she was 16, he bought her underwear from Ann Summers and took

"when she was 16, he bought her underwear from ann summers and took photographs of her in it...” – iestyn morgan, prosecuting
photographs of her in it," said Mr Morgan.

He was caught performing a sex act on himself while looking at the photos.

Bassett accepted having intercourse with the girl on many occasions – "at least six separate occasions”, said Mr Morgan. He also accepted performing another sex act on her.

The girt said in a victim statement Bassett made her feel she had no self-worth and told of having ongoing nightmares.

The prosecutor said the starting point for sentence was imprisonment for two years. The range was one to four years.

Judge David Griffith-Jones QC had expressed concern about the basis of plea put forward by Bassett and the nature of the charges he faced.

Scales of justiceThe prosecution had accepted Bassett's basis of plea, but Mr Morgan said it was not now maintained his full account was true.

The judge said the Crown Prosecution Service had "made a fundamental error" in framing the indictment the way it had.

Mr Morgan replied: "Notwithstanding the charges and the basis of plea, nothing goes against the fact that Mr Bassett was grooming."

Bernard Eaton, defending, submitted a suspended prison sentence could be imposed.

He described Bassett as "a man with a keen sense of moral and social purpose, someone with a keen sense of knowing his place in the world and where the boundaries are of right and wrong".

But he added it was a fall from responsible moral and legal behaviour.

Judge Griffith-Jones adjourned sentence until the end of this week. Bail was continued.

His name will appear on the sex offenders' register and he will be barred from working with children.

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