Businessman jailed over sexual activity with child

Preston Crown Court
Preston Crown Court
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A well-known company director is starting a 10-year prison term for 10 counts of sexual activity with a child.

Businessman Paul Atkinson, 43, of Towngate, Eccleston, near Chorley, was found guilty of the offences after a trial at Preston Crown Court.

Atkinson, who grew up in Euxton, ran Westlea Garage and MOT Centre and was the director of a tractor contracting company.

Three of the offences related specifically to a child under the age of 13.

The remaining seven charges relate to a child between the ages of 13 and 17.

She cannot be identified for legal reasons.

Speaking afterwards, a former employee spoke of his frustration after raising the alarm about Atkinson’s lurid comments about the girl.

The man, who did not wish to be named, said: “We were in the brew room one day, back in 2008, and he made a horrific sexual comment about the girl.

“I said: ‘That’s sick, you don’t say things like that about children.’”

He says he was so concerned he mentioned it to members of his family, and three months later left his employment.

He added: “I didn’t want anything to do with him. He was a bully, a big bloke who was intimidating – he was all mouth.”