A man who took a 15-year-old girl on a seven-day ‘excursion’ has walked free from court after a judge said he ‘behaved entirely properly’ during the trip.
Police launched a week-long manhunt for Thomas Fallon, 25, after he went missing with the girl in September.
She was reported missing after failing to return home in Doncaster, South Yorkshire after telling her mother she was on the way back from Harrogate.
Fallon, who has been on remand since he was caught by police, admitted child abduction and was told by Judge Jeremy Richardson that he had been ‘very foolish’.
However the judge praised Fallon for his behaviour during his time with the girl, adding that his punishment from the court should be in ‘proportion’ to the crime.
Police launched a week-long manhunt for Thomas Fallon (pictured) after he went missing with the girl earlier this year
He told Sheffield Crown Court: ‘According to her, he behaved entirely properly towards her in a way that’s, perhaps, unusual in this day and age.
‘It’s most unfortunate that it’s actually a crime but it’s an unhappy situation, for everybody concerned.’
Fallon was jailed for three months by Judge Richardson, but released immediately due to the amount of time he had spent on remand.
Judge Richardson told him: ‘You must be punished but I must keep a sense of proportion.’
He said: ‘You have been more than adequately punished over the last few weeks.’
As he left the dock, Fallon said to the judge: ‘I think you’ve been fair, thank you’.
Fallon was jailed for three months by Judge Richardson on Thursday, but released immediately due to the amount of time he had spent on remand
Neil Coxon, prosecuting, described how the 15-year-old girl met Fallon and they started what she told police was ‘a sort of relationship’ which involved some kissing and cuddling but no sexual activity.
Mr Coxon said she was having some issues in the area where lived, which the judge summarised as being ‘fed up with her situation’.
He said she left home on September 22 and travelled by train and taxi to Harrogate, where she met Fallon.
The pair then travelled to Edinburgh where they stayed until a cafe owner called the police on September 30.
Mr Coxon said the pair stayed with friends of Fallon in Edinburgh, with the girl taking a bed and the defendant sleeping on the sofa, but also camped for some of the nights.
The judge was told that the girl’s mother had outlined her deep concerns in a victim personal statement which was not read out in court.
Judge Richardson said he understood that the mother was ‘understandably very troubled by what has happened’, but hoped his comments in court would help her understand what happened.
He said Fallon and the girl appeared to have ‘run off together’ and she had a ‘level of infatuation’ with the defendant.
Fallon admitted child abduction and was told by Judge Jeremy Richardson (pictured) that he had been ‘very foolish’
The judge said to the defendant: ‘This girl went entirely voluntarily. There was no coercion on your part. Furthermore, there was no sexual impropriety. It was, however, very foolish.’
He said there was evidence that Fallon had encouraged the girl to return home during the ‘excursion to Scotland’ but she did not want to go back.
He said: ‘You have committed a crime but it’s important, however, that I look at this case realistically.’
Fallon, of Harrogate, has previous convictions for theft and drugs offences, the court heard.
In 2012, Richardson spared a sex attacker who stalks schoolgirls from jail after telling the court he sympathised with his frustration that he had never had a ‘full sexual relationship’.
Andrew Jackson, was told that he deserved a prison sentence but, as he has Asperger’s syndrome, sending him to jail would be ‘utterly cruel’.
Jackson was known to follow young girls on his moped and cause them distress, often by striking up sexual conversations with them.
Jackson was given a two-year supervised community order designed to change his behaviour and was ordered to sign the sex offender register.
Judge Richardson said justice demanded he took a ‘thoroughly exceptional course’ and show that the courts were ‘not without compassion’ by ignoring sentencing guidelines and sparing Jackson the ordeal of prison.
Passing sentence at Hull Crown Court, Judge Jeremy Richardson QC, told him: ‘You have never had a full sexual relationship – it must be very frustrating.
‘I wish to make it plain you deserve to be sent to prison. But you are very much to be pitied.
‘I have a public duty, but it would be quite wrong to impose a cruel punishment.’
In August this year, Judge Richardson jailed a woman for two years after she seduced a schoolboy after giving him a sedative pill at a party.
Jamie Garrett, 22, gave the 14-year-old boy the party drug Xanax before engaging in a ‘variety of sexual acts’ with him.
Sheffield Crown Court heard the offences happened in August 2016 when Garrett was aged 22 and had been drinking, smoking weed, and taking Xanax herself.