A MAN who raped an underage girl has been jailed for eight years.
Passing sentence on James Riggs at Plymouth Crown Court, Judge Francis Gilbert QC branded him arrogant and said he had used the girl sexually on many occasions for his own sexual gratification.
The jury of seven men and five women unanimously found Riggs, aged 25 and of Plough Green, Saltash, guilty of one count of rape and five counts of sexual activity with a child.
Riggs, wearing a dark suit and blue striped tie, stood impassively but shook his head as the verdicts were delivered.
The jury was told that he had two previous convictions for drink driving and one for possession of cocaine.
During the week-long trial, they heard how Riggs had called the girl into his bedroom when she came to his home to return a lost wallet.
He then had unprotected sex with her, although she did not want to.
Over a period of months, Riggs and the schoolgirl had a sexual affair, and at one point he took her on a bus on an outing to Torpoint, which he denied.
He was trapped by two crucial pieces of evidence: his thumbprint on the bus ticket and a five-hour gap in a stream of texts and phone calls between him and the girl coinciding with the times of the trip.
Riggs had told the jury he had had sex once with the girl’s mother, who wanted a relationship with him that he was not interested in.
He claimed that she had fabricated evidence against him and been supported by alleged lies from the girl, her uncle and other witnesses.
Passing sentence, Judge Gilbert told Riggs: “You took advantage of a young, impressionable girl who was extremely vulnerable for your own sexual gratification without any regard for the damage you were doing to her.
“You had sex with her repeatedly over a couple of months, with no regard to her welfare.
“Your attitude in the witness box demonstrates the arrogant person that you are; the evidence against you was overwhelming.”