A SCOUT leader has been jailed after he sexually abused an underage girl at a nature reserve.

Tony John Coverdale, 26, will never again be part of the movement that had been such a big part of his life, York Crown Court heard.

David Bradshaw, prosecuting, said the two met through scouting activities and he took her to where he thought they would not be seen on the nature reserve.

But the reserve’s warden saw the two performing a sex act together and police were called.

Coverdale, of Kaye Drive, Osgodby, Selby, admitted sexual activity with a girl and causing or inciting a girl to engage in sexual activity and was jailed for 40 months.

“This was a vulnerable girl,” Judge Robin Mairs told him.

“This has had a deeply profound effect upon her, an effect that may last much longer than the sentence I will pass upon you.”

York Press:

For the rest of his life, Coverdale will be on the sex offenders’ register, subject to a sexual harm prevention order banning him from any unsupervised contact with girls under 16 and contacting the victim in any way.

He will also be barred from ever working with or doing voluntary work with children. For Coverdale, Neal Kutte said: “Scouting was a big part of his life. It is not something that is going to be part of his life in the future.”

Pleading guilty had been a “life changing” moment for him.He was remorseful.

The North Yorkshire Police officer in charge of the case, Det Con John Atkinson, said the victim was still coming to terms with what had happened.

Speaking after the sentencing, he said: “It was a gross breach of trust and it’s to the victim’s credit that, despite the additional burden this placed upon her, she found the courage to make contact with the police and other agencies.”

“This case has demonstrated a close co-operation between local authorities, children’s services and the police to achieve the best possible outcome for the victim, which is always paramount for North Yorkshire Police.”