Couple sentenced for child sex offences

Graham Burns. Picture: Sussex Police
Graham Burns. Picture: Sussex Police

A Crawley couple have been sentenced for their roles in sexual offences involving young girls.

Graham Burns, 55, of Otway Close, Crawley and Karla Leaworthy, 44, of Pegwell Close, Crawley, were jointly convicted on November 1 of engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a small girl, according to police.

Police said Burns was sentenced on Friday (January 20) to a total of seven years in prison.

Leaworthy was sentenced on December 14 and was given a two-year community order with supervision, police have said.

A police spokesman said: “Burns had also been convicted on September 5 of two offences of sexual assault on a girl aged under 16 and of inciting that girl to engage in a sexual act.

“Burns will be a registered sex offender for life and was also given a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) to last indefinitely, severely restricting his access to young girls.

“Leaworthy will be a registered sex offender for five years and was also given a SHPO to last for two years severely restricting her access to young girls.”

Detective Constable Nicola Beard of the West Sussex Safeguarding and Investigation Unit said: “Burns used opportunities to assault a vulnerable young girl, for his own sexual gratification, and he and Leaworthy also carried out sexual activity in the presence of a small child, knowing that the child could see what was happening.

“Particular praise is due to the young girl who was the victim of Burns’ offences, She supported the investigation throughout and resolutely gave evidence at his trial.

“We will always aim to support victims who come forward to us, to help them achieve justice wherever the evidence justifies it.”

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