Labour man guilty of abducting boy, 13
By Staff Reporter
A former New Labour high-flier was yesterday found guilty of abducting a 13-year-old boy from Bolton he had groomed on the internet.
Peter Tuffley, aged 28, who had worked as an assistant to Labour Party chairman Hazel Blears, took the boy to stay overnight at his flat in Liverpool after they met through an internet chatroom and dating website, Bolton Crown Court heard.
He denied the boy's claim they kissed and cuddled in his bed, and the jury cleared him of sexual activity with a child.
But he was convicted of sexual grooming on the internet and child abduction, following a six-day trial.
Tuffley, of Pipersfield, Ridgewood, East Sussex, gulped and puffed his cheeks out as the guilty verdicts were delivered by the jury forewoman. He faces up to 10 years in jail.
And he may also be prosecuted on a further charge of possessing child pornography on his home computer.
Tuffley was working as a Labour Party regional organiser in the North-west when he met the youngster, the court heard.
Tuffley called the boy, "cute" and "babe" in emails and text messages before the defendant took the youngster to stay overnight at his flat in Liverpool on March 12 last year.
The youngster's frantic parents had called police after he failed to return home.
Tuffley was arrested the next day - telling officers he thought the boy was over 16.
When police checked Tuffley's computer they found an exchange of messages between the two, which the prosecution alleged, showed Tuffley must have known he was under 16 - and legally too young to consent to any sexual activity.
Tuffley was bailed until December 1 for sentence at Bolton Crown Court.
After the verdict, the father of the boy - who cannot be identified for legal reasons - said he hoped Tuffley would get a long jail sentence.
He said: "He is a very intelligent, manipulative and perverse character.
"From myself and my wife's point of view, my boy has realised just how bad it could have been and he is lucky - it could have been a lot worse."
Whoever stole the Sun, put it back and we'll drop all the charges!