Man who groomed girl jailed for five years
A MAN who groomed a schoolgirl in Widnes before suggesting he take her virginity has been jailed.
Joshua Davitt was sentenced at Warrington Crown Court on Friday to five years in prison after being convicted of a string of sexual offences, including inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and possession of indecent photographs of a child.
The court heard the 23-year-old first met the girl when she was eight years old during a family holiday.
Initially their friendship was purely platonic but this changed over a number of years, with Davitt of Castle View in Tintagel in Cornwall grooming the child, who was nine years younger than him, via social networking sites.
On two occasions he travelled from his Bedfordshire home to meet up with the girl in Widnes, and he also encouraged her to carry out a sexual act online.
He then kept the photographs of the girl on his computer.
The mother of the victim bravely spoke out in court about the sickening devastation caused by the defendant and how her daughter suffers ‘nightmares, interrupted sleep, huge mood swings and bouts of uncontrollable crying’.
She said: “Life has not been the same for any of us since November 2014 when I first discovered the extent and initial nature of my daughter’s online communication with Joshua Davitt.
“You will understand that, despite trying to nip it in the bud, at that stage matters escalated to the events of February 2015, which culminated in this trial.
“I feel like I failed as a parent despite all the measures I put in place to keep my daughter safe on the internet.
“It has weighed heavily on my mind and caused me endless anxiety.
“It feels like I have a huge knot in my stomach forever.”
Judge Neil Flewitt, sentencing, said he had no option but to send Davitt to prison, adding the victim and her family would take a long time to recover.
He said: “She had convinced herself that she was in love with you and she was in a relationship with you.
“You were 21 years of age and had some sexual experience.
“You may not have been a mature 21-year-old but you were considerably more mature than her.
“By the time this all came to a head the victim was still only 13.
“This was an unequal relationship.
“She was vulnerable because of how she felt about you and because of her personal circumstances.
“You took advantage of that.”