The trial of a youth worker accused of having sex with a vulnerable 15-year-old girl he was meant to be supporting heard that the victim was ‘treated like one of the family’.
Mark Wakeling, 46, of Portland Road, Langwith, was employed as a personal advisor at the Connexions office in Ryton Street, Worksop, and Nottingam Crown Court heard that Wakeling supported the victim, who can not be named for legal reasons, through a difficult time and helped get her life back on track.
He denies seven counts, including sexual activity with a child under 16, causing a child to engage in sexual activity by virtue of being in a position of trust, and sending and receiving sexualised text messages.
The charges span more than two years, between January 2009 and May 2011.
Wakeling’s wife, Dawn, told the court that she had treated the victim like one of the family and that she would stay over regularly at the house, staying most weekends and one night during the week, and that sometimes Wakeling would stay up later alone with the victim.
The jury heard from a witness in court that the images the victim claim to be of her were actually sent to the defendant by the witness.
Jane Gabitas, who met Wakeling through work, told the court that she took images of herself and sent them to Mark between the period of 6th January and 15th February 2012.
She said: “I’d always fancied Mark and it was an attempt at seduction.”
Sarah Knight, prosecuting, told the court that these images appeared to be of a muc younger person.
Jane added: “I know it is me as it was the first photo I took of this nature and it was an uncomfortable experience.”
The court also heard from witnesses who described Wakeling as honest, trustworthy and always willing to go the extra mile to help people.
The prosecution have delivered its closing statement to the jury.
Sarah Knight, prosecuting, asked the jury to understand how involved Wakeling became in the victim’s life and how dependant se became on him.
She told the jury they had heard from witnesses that he would go the extra mile for people and he did this in a number of legitimate ways and illegitimate ways as well and how he ‘shrugged off’ concern from colleagues.
The trial continues.