A York ghost hunt leader has been jailed for 20 weeks for sexually abusing a 15-year-old girl.

Andrew Auster, 59, who has used the name Andy Dextrous in the course of his work giving guided tours of “haunted” places wearing a top hat and Victorian clothes, got to know her while giving out leaflets for his walk in York city centre.

Judge Catherine Tulk said the pair sent each other so many text messages in ten days they filled 79 pages of A4 paper. His progressed from conventional or jokey ones to becoming more intimate and overtly sexual.

In them, he said he loved the girl, wanted to have sex with her and kept their relationship secret from his wife.

After reading out some of them, the judge told Auster they provided “cogent and compelling evidence of your criminal behaviour and of the effect that behaviour was having upon her.”

She added: “I have no doubt you were swept up in the euphoria of having a young, beautiful and articulate girl hanging on to your every word.

“You display no remorse for your conduct, or acknowledge that what you did was wrong.”

Auster, of Main Street, Newton-upon-Derwent, was convicted by a jury of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity by a jury in December.

York Press:

In addition to the 20-week jail term passed at Bradford Crown Court, Auster was put on the sex offenders’ register for seven years.

His barrister Jeremy Barton said he had continued to run his ghost hunt business while awaiting sentence and his employees would suffer if he was sent to prison.

He was also caring for a 93-year-old relative who was very ill.

He had run his ghost hunt business for more than 20 years.

“There has been no suggestion in all that time he has ever been investigated or there has ever been any concern that this defendant has ever tried to groom or act inappropriately with a child,” said the defence barrister.

The judge, who gave sentence over a video link from Aylesbury Crown Court where she is currently sitting, said the offence was so serious, only custody was appropriate.