A MAN who sexually abused a 14-year-old girl in a car in a country lane passing point has been jailed for three-and-a-half years.

Richard Perrett, of Kestrel Place, Bishops Green, had offered the girl a lift before abusing her on Sunday, September 2, 2012.

The 37-year-old had previously kissed her on the mouth and encouraged her to send him dirty text messages.

The matter came to light when the girl, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, told a friend whose boyfriend then told the police.

Perrett appeared at Winchester Crown Court for sentence, having been found guilty after a trial in December of three counts of sexual activity with a child.

He denied the offences ever took place and said the plea for dirty messages was meant for his own partner.

But Judge Jane Miller said the jury, which reached a majority verdict, did not believe his story, and she praised the courage of Perrett’s victim.

Judge Miller said: “She gave evidence very bravely, and she was called a liar. Those texts in my view showed very clearly that she was not lying. You tried to explain away the texts saying they were for your partner, but that was not true.”

The judge said the victim felt scared, and was hurt by allegations she was “an attention seeker and a home wrecker”.

Richard Onslow, defending, said two of the three counts involved the incident in the car, and added that Perrett was previously a man of “impeccable character”.

He added that Perrett had financial difficulties and a spell in prison would see him lose his home.

As well as jailing Perrett, the judge said Perrett would remain on the sexual offenders register for 10 years.