A Marlborough man has been sent to prison after having a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old girl.
Vaughan Peter Jackson, 44, was sentenced to two years and seven months in jail at the Blenheim District Court after admitting the relationship in court in May.
Judge John Walker said Jackson had taken advantage of the Nelson girl, who was 13 when the pair met at Anzac Day commemorations in Nelson.
Following their meeting she began text messaging Jackson.
Jackson believed the girl overheard him giving his number to somebody else, but he should have recognised the messages as being inappropriate, the judge said.
"[The messages] should have been stopped and you were in a position to make them stop."
Instead of ending the contact, Jackson formed a relationship with the girl which lasted from late July until mid-October last year, the judge said.
He drove to Nelson to visit the girl, where he took her and some friends rock climbing and out for lunch.
The pair continued contacting each other via text message, and sent each other inappropriate picture messages, before the relationship between the pair became sexual, the judge said.
Jackson returned to Nelson and parked outside the girl's house and she would sneak out into the car where they had sex on five occasions.
"I have read of the impacts on her. She feels responsible for you being arrested and is self-harming."
It was well-established that the incidents would have a long-term effect on her, the judge said.
Defence lawyer Rob Harrison said while the relationship between Jackson and the young girl was "clearly wrong", Jackson felt that he had "fallen in love" with the victim.
As soon as Jackson was aware that the police knew of their relationship he told the girl she should be honest with them, and had accepted responsibility for his actions, Harrison said.
He had also acknowledged that his actions had harmed the victim, he said.
- The Marlborough Express