Former Mayor and conservative councillor Simon Thornton (pictured)
A former Mayor and conservative councillor has been jailed for abusing a teenage girl who he forced to sleep in bed with him and his wife during the three years he abused her.
Simon Thornton was jailed for nine years on Monday after a judge heard how he used the thirteen-year-old girl as a sex object.
The court also heard that 46-year-old Thornton, Mayor of Godalming in Surrey between 2006 and 2009, told police who arrested him: ‘You know I am the Mayor?’
Thornton admitted 22 charges involving having sexual relations with the girl when she was between the ages of 13 and 15. He denied two other counts of paying for sex and producing child pornography.
Balding Thornton sat in the dock as the judge listed a litany of offences involving sex with a girl ‘weekly’ over a three year period.
The court heard how Thornton had begun grooming the girl from her 13th birthday, buying her phones, picking her up from school and inviting her to his work and home whenever possible.
Thornton and the girl established a routine involving texting one another a code, as well as taking any opportunity to have sex with her, including on occasion, at his work at a butcher’s shop, in his van, or on a local common.
The court described how Thornton went to great lengths to ‘normalise’ his behaviour, including having the girl sleep in bed beside him and his now ex-wife.
The judge at Guildford Crown Court also heard how during the relationship, Thornton had seized upon the opportunity to produce multiple indecent images and videos of his victims, ranging from catego