Former Godalming mayor jailed for child sex offences
A former mayor has been jailed for sex offences against a 13-year-old girl.
Simon Thornton, 46, of Abraham Way, in Bordon, Hampshire, admitted a number of charges of sexual activity with a child and taking indecent images.
The offences took place between 2006 and 2009, before he was elected to Waverley Borough Council in Surrey as a councillor and mayor of Godalming.
He was sentenced to nine years in jail at Guildford Crown Court, and banned from working with children.
He was also put on the sexual offenders register and given a sexual harm prevention order to be served indefinitely.
Thornton was arrested by police in October last year, while still mayor. He resigned from his positions on the council a few days later.
Investigating officer PC Tamzin Ede said he had displayed "predatory behaviour to abuse a child for a prolonged period".
"Simon Thornton's crimes have impacted the victim through her childhood and into adult life.
"The offending against her has caused low confidence, depression and difficulties in building new trusted relationships," she said.
Julia Potts, leader of Waverley Borough Council, said her thoughts were with the victim, and confirmed that none of the crimes were committed during his time as a councillor.
Thornton was elected to the council in May 2011 and resigned in October 2017.
He was mayor of Godalming from May to October 2017.