A former Mayor has been jailed for 9 years after he admitted more than 20 child sex offenses.
Simon Thornton, 46, was arrested for his three-year sexual relationship with a girl who was under 16. As he was arrested at his butcher’s shop in the Surrey town, he told police, “you know I’m the mayor of Godalming.”
A court heard that he was found to have a number of indecent images and videos during his arrest. During a search of his properties, police found condoms under the floorboards of the butcher’s shop he owned at the time.
His victim, now almost 16, was targeted by the politician right from when she was 13. He assaulted her sexually in her own home, his house, an office, in woodland and in a van. He even tried to “normalize” what he was doing, including having the girl sleep in his bed with his now ex-wife. He groomed the girl with sweets and the most up-to-date mobile phone while the girl was suffering with problems at home.
His victim was praised for her courage for coming forward to report what he had done to her and for detailing the impact his actions have had on her life.
Prosecutor Wendy Cottee said: “At the time she felt safe and secure and did not see anything wrong about what was happening.”
She told her family that Thornton was someone she was going out with but at the age of 15 she realized that there was something wrong and distanced herself. As a result of the abuse, she “suffered with depression” and now isolates herself, struggling to form friendships.
Thornton’s lawyer Ian Wilkinson said that he had expressed remorse and confessed what had happened to his wife when he was arrested.
He was jailed for 9 years and will have to sign the sex offenders register indefinitely. He is also banned from working with children. Further charges of voyeurism and paying a child for sex will remain on file.