September 2013

Prison for teenager who groomed child, 13

A teenager has been jailed for three years for grooming a child and assaulting her near desolate flats in Stanwell.

Guildford Crown Court was told on Friday August 30 that Ashley Weller, 19, of Deridene Close, Stanwell, exchanged ‘sexually explicit messages’ with the 13-year-old and then pressured her into arranging to meet him for sex.

Judge Suzan Matthews heard that the girl had suffered psychological harm as a result of Weller’s actions on August 25 last year when the pair had sex in a concrete stairwell of a block of flats.

Weller, who stood in the dock wearing a blue polo shirt, admitted sexual activity with a child under 16. He had originally been charged with raping the 13-year-old, which he denied, but moments before the trial was due to begin – which would have seen the girl and her parents forced to give evidence – he pleaded guilty to the sexual activity charge and the case went to sentencing.

The court was told that Weller had spent days leading up to the offence exchanging explicit messages with the youngster via a messaging service on a BlackBerry mobile phone.

Oscar Del Fabbro, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said: “The words used in the messages were decidedly explicit. A picture was sent of the defendant’s genitals.”

Mr Del Fabbro said the level of planning was an aggravating factor in the case.

Mark Butler, defending, said Weller was remorseful and that his life will be changed forever by his actions that day.

Summing up, Judge Matthews told Weller: “You knew how old she was. Your explicit messages using a BlackBerry quickly became intimate and explicit.

“When the two of you got together you took her to a desolate building, semi-desolate flats, and on a concrete floor had sex with her.

“After a few minutes you left with her. But the worry took hold of her and she realised she was at risk of falling pregnant as no contraception was used.”

The court was told that Weller had previous convictions for possession of a blade and criminal damage, and by committing this offence, he had breached his conditional discharge, but Judge Matthews added no additional penalty.

He was jailed for three years, of which he is expected to serve half. Judge Matthews deemed a Sexual Offences Prevention Order unnecessary and no order was made for costs.