A COUPLE who invited a 14-year-old girl to have a "sexual encounter" with them in a West Yorkshire hotel room have been sent to prison.
Matthew Fox and Katherine Slym were both sentenced to 20 months in jail after a court heard how the pair groomed the youngster before engaging in sexual activity with her.
Fox's barrister told Leeds Crown Court how the couple were "liberally minded" but had "crossed the line" in having sex with someone they knew was under the age of 16.
The court heard Fox and Slym were drunk when they invited the girl back to their hotel room in Huddersfield in 2016. Earlier in the day the defendants had a "lengthy conversation" with the girl in which they discussed tattoos and body piercings and took mobile phone selfies.
During the conversation the girl told the pair that she was aged 14.
Anthony Dunne, prosecuting, said Fox, 36,and Slym, 33, both had sexual activity with the girl, before having sex with each other in front of her.
The girl then drank alcohol and smoked cigarettes in the room with Fox and Slym.
Police were contacted after the girl told a friend what had happened.
Fox and Slym, both of Tedder Road, York, pleaded guilty to sexual activity with a child under 16 and engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child under 16.
Daniel Graham, for Slym, said the offences occurred at a time when she was suffering from depression and had a problem with alcohol.
Miss Graham said: "She was engaging in risky behaviour. She has subsequently engaged with professionals regarding her depression and significantly cut down on her drinking."
The court heard Slym had also lost her job as a result of the convictions.
Gillian Batts, for Fox, said he had also been struggling with mental health and drink problems at the time.
Miss Batts described the defendants as "liberally minded".
She added: "Whatever he has done before this was with consenting adults. What he did here was to cross the line."
Jailing the couple, judge Robin Mairs said: "The complainant described herself as being used - she was used. It was a prolonged incident.
"There was time for both of you to come to your senses and realise what was happening.
"There was a marked disparity in age. There had been an element of grooming which took place
"The seriousness of this offence is such that only an immediate custodial sentence can be justified."
Fox and Slym were also told they must go on the sex offenders register for ten years.