November 2016

Pervert groomed teen online

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A SEX predator who preyed on a vulnerable young Oldham teenager he contacted on a social networking site has been jailed for 15 months.

Simon Fawcett (45) opened an account in the name of James Star, also lying about his age – which he said was 22.

Manchester’s Minshull Street Crown Court heard how for six months he communicated with the girl knowing quite well she was only 14.

Alison Heyworth, prosecuting, said Fawcett repeatedly asked her to meet him, and though she never blocked him, she ignored the suggestions.

He manipulated her by seeking sympathy, telling her his partner had died and his parents were gone. He also offered to give her cigarettes and cannabis.

Ms Heyworth said he flattered her by telling her she was “amazing” and had a “most beautiful body” but his remarks began to get more sexually graphic. He asked her to send pictures of her cleavage and told her he wanted “a snog and a feel”.

Fawcett, who pleaded guilty to a single charge of meeting a child following sexual grooming, told her he wanted to take her out, invited her to meet him in Oldham and even suggested taking her to Blackpool.

Eventually in February, last year, he said he would meet her at Oldham Bus Station, but it was the police rather than the girl that were waiting.

Sentencing, Judge Timothy Mort told him: “Most significant is that you are a street-wise man who knew perfectly well how to flatter this young girl for your own sexual gratification.

“This was a classic case of grooming and you travelled with the intent of meeting her.

“Thankfully she had the good sense to talk to someone else.”

The judge said he had to consider the significant impact of Fawcett’s actions on his victim, and there could be no alternative to immediate custody.

“It was the calculating way you went about it,” he added.

The court had heard that the girl had been preparing for exams at the time and her work had suffered as a result of what was happening.

She said she had been constantly scared that he might show up at her school, or find out where she lived, and turn up at her home.

She said in a statement that she had previously been a happy, fun-loving girl, but now felt only a shadow of her former self.

Hunter Gray, defending, said his client had never before been involved in criminal conduct and had lost his job and his former partner as a result of what he had done.

He said a meeting had never taken place, but had it done so, Fawcett’s plan had been for nothing more than kissing.

He said: “He is in the position, perhaps, of still not appreciating the seriousness of what happened, and could have happened.”

Fawcett, of Hilary Avenue, Cheadle, who pleaded guilty to the grooming charge on the day he was due to go on trial last month, has been subject to a Sexual Offences Prevention Order in addition to his prison sentence.