Brighton club owner jailed for sexual offence against teenage girl

Kenneth McGrath SUS-170112-105153001
Kenneth McGrath SUS-170112-105153001

A Brighton pub and club owner is starting a three-year prison sentence for a sexual offence against a vulnerable 17-year-old Brighton girl on his yacht in Majorca two years ago.

Kenneth McGrath, 61, company director, of St Martins Place, Brighton, was sentenced at Lewes Crown Court on Thursday (November 30), having been convicted on November 10 of paying for the sexual services of a child, said Sussex Police.

He was found not guilty of two offences of sexual assault against the same girl.

Police said he will be a registered sex offender for life and was given a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) to last until further court order.

The SHPO prohibits him from providing any massage services, from taking any images of any girls under-18 without prior parental or guardian permission, and from being involved with any employment that would bring him into contact with any under-18 girls. He is also prohibited from possessing any digital image-taking device unless it is available for inspection by police, and is prohibited from contacting the victim.

In 2015 the girl was recommended by a mutual friend to McGrath, who was seeking a ‘girl friday’ to work on his yacht moored in Majorca, hosting hen parties on his behalf, said Sussex Police.

But officers said when she arrived on the yacht, there were no hen parties and McGrath took advantage of her isolation and vulnerability to coerce her into a sexual act with him. He even created a document which purported to show her willingness to this activity as part of her contract of employment, said police.

Detective Constable Melanie Wauchope said: “Ken McGrath exploited a balance of power between an employer and employee to control and manipulate a vulnerable young person into engaging in sexual activity. During the trial he tried to discredit her motives but clearly the jury did not believe him. We will always take seriously such reports and take action wherever possible.”

An NSPCC spokesperson said, “McGrath has been shown to be a manipulative and calculating individual who exploited a vulnerable child for his own sexual gratification.

“It is flabbergasting that in a bid to cover his despicable actions he created a document suggesting his victim was a willing participant in her own abuse.

“We hope she has received all the support available to help her move forward with her life and that McGrath’s sentence gives her some form of closure, as well as protecting others.”