A WHITEHAVEN karate instructor who allowed his home to be used as a hangout by teenage girls has been jailed for two years for child abduction.
Allan Joughin, 47, continued to allow the teenagers into his house despite warnings from parents, the police and the local education authority.
He was eventually arrested after police raided his property and found a 14-year-old girl, who had been reported missing, hiding inside a hollowed out armchair.
They also found a quantity of amphetamine worth over ?500.
Joughin was later charged with two counts of child abduction ? relating to two different girls ? and possessing class B drugs with intent to supply.
He denied the abduction offences, saying that the teenagers, who cannot be named, came to his house willingly and he was not holding them against their will.
Although he admitted possessing the drugs, he said they were for personal use.
Joughin was on trial at Carlisle Crown Court in November last year and was found guilty of both abduction counts. He returned to court yesterday to be sentenced.
Andrew Ford, prosecuting, explained that the matter was first brought to the attention of police in October 2005 when one of the girls had not returned home.
She later turned up but had video clips of Joughin and text messages from him on her phone.
Four days later police received a separate complaint from the mother of another girl who was also missing.
Concern was growing locally about the number of children regularly gathering at Joughin?s house.
Parents approached him to make their feelings known and he received an official warning letter from the local education authority, as some of the teenagers were gathering during school time.
Yet he continued to allow them into his home.
Last February one of the girls was again reported missing and police searched his house.
They eventually found her crouching inside a hollowed out armchair.
Joughin was arrested and issued with a list of 17 teenagers who were prohibited from entering his home.
Two weeks later they raided his home again after another girl had gone missing and found the amphetamines.
Then on March 1 officers forced their way into the property and found a group of young people inside.
Joughin, whose marriage had broken down, told police that the teenagers came to the house of their own free will and did not want to leave.
Greg Hoare, defending, said it had become an open house for young people who he was trying to help.
He stressed that there was no sexual activity or underlying sexual motives.
The judge, Recorder Bentham QC, agreed that this was an unusual situation to come before the courts.
However he said it was a very serious offence for which Joughin had shown no remorse.
?Girls in this position are vulnerable young women in need of guidance and parental control,? he said.
?On the contrary, what you gave them was access to a house of moral laxity, where drugs were available to be used by you and sexual laxity to which their parents would strongly have disapproved.?
Recorder Bentham stressed that although Joughin would not be sentenced for any sexual impropriety, it did not mean there was not an underlying sexual motive.
He received two concurrent jail sentences of two years for each abduction offence, of which he must serve half minus the 222 days he has already served on remand.
A further 12-month sentence will run concurrently for the drugs offence.
News and Star