Violent Fenland ‘predator’ jailed for three years after sex with underage girl

A VIOLENT sexual predator who had sex with a 15-year-old girl more than 30 times during a year-long relationship was jailed for three years yesterday.

Richard Coveney, 25, from March, began a relationship with the girl when she was just 14, giving her cannabis before having sex with her at his home and at a nearby park.

Cambridge Crown Court heard that Coveney, who has an eight-year-old son, sexually assaulted another 13-year-old girl by pinching her breast. The girl came forward during a police investigation.

Coveney, of Regent Avenue, March, also faced assault charges after dislocating a 14-year-old girl’s collar bone in a brutal and unprovoked attack.

The 25-year-old brandished a knife during the attack on the girl and a 14-year-old boy, which took place in July as they walked through March.

Sally Hickling, prosecuting, said: “He punched the girl on the arm twice, pushed her out of the way and began punching the boy in the back of the head.

“He produced a what looked like a Swiss Army Knife and said; ‘do you want me to stab you because that’s what I’m going to do’.”

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Coveney admitted one charge of actual bodily harm, one charge of assault and one charge of possessing of an offensive weapon. He also admitted three charges of sexual activity with a child and one charge of supplying a Class B drug.

The court heard that Coveney met the then 14-year-old girl in August 2009. Miss Hickling said: “On occasions he was rough, pinching her and biting her on the hips, belly, breasts and neck.”

The relationship was not discovered until almost a year later, when the girl told her mother, who reported it to the police.

The court heard that the girl had become “secretive and unpredictable” and started refusing to go to school as a result of the relationship.

A statement from her mother, read to the court, said: “Her behaviour changed so much that I felt I didn’t know my own daughter any more.

“She will never be the same again; her innocence is gone forever.”

Referring to a psychological report, Michael Magee, mitigating, said Coveney struggled with “the mental functioning of day-to-day activity” but was full of remorse.

Mr Magee said: “His attempts to work have been hampered by this and it’s in this context of him being unemployed and hanging around that he spent time with these young girls. He might have found more in common with those that age rather than those of his own peer group.”

The court also heard that Coveney had been moved to a vulnerable prisoners section after being attacked while in custody.

Sentencing him to a total of three years in prison, His Honour Judge Jonathan Haworth said: “The fact that you continued the offence for such a long period meant that you had ample time to realise that what you were doing was wrong.

“It’s impossible to know the long term affects this will have on the girl and her family.”

Coveney was made the subject of a sexual offences prevention order and was placed on the Sexual Offenders’ Register.

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