A MAN has been sentenced for ten months for sexual offences against a young girl, and intimidating a witness.

Andrew Barlow, 48, a restaurant worker, of St Leonards, was convicted of Inciting the girl, then under 16, to commit an act of gross indecency, and witness intimidation, after a two-week trial.

He was convicted at Hove Crown Court on Monday, May 14.

He was given three months imprisonment for the gross indecency offences, and will be a registered sex offender for seven years.

He was also given seven months imprisonment, to run consecutively with the three-month sentence, for perverting the course of justice by witness intimidation.

Barlow was also given a Restraining Order, to last indefinitely, prohibiting him from any further contact with his victim.

The investigation began when Barlow came to the police with concerns that other people were spreading malicious lies about him being a sex offender.

The gross indecency offences took place in the public toilets at Little Common, Bexhill. He engaged in grooming and predatory behaviour on the vulnerable young girl who was 14 at the time.

She worked for Barlow and was subjected to sexual conversations and suggestions.

She was then taken to the public toilet where he told her to remove her top clothing and put on his jacket.

She was asked to prove to him she did not have her top on by unzipping the jacket and showing him.

The girl initially refused but was told by Barlow that it was important that she did as he asked so that he knew he could trust her.

Barlow also threatened the father of a witness against him during the investigation.

Detective Constable Nick O’Shaughnessy of the Hastings Safeguarding Investigations Unit said: “If it were not for the victim’s bravery there is every likelihood that Barlow would have escaped justice.

"She was very scared and frightened of him and to his denying the allegation she had to endure the rigours of a trial.

"We encourage anyone who has been subjected to sexual offences to come forward to us. Do not be exploited. Please talk to us - we will listen and we will act."