June 2012

Leicester man in sex attack on teenager he befriended on Facebook

A man who sexually assaulted a vulnerable teenager in an alleyway after befriending her on Facebook has been jailed for four years.

Gareth John Evans (26) groomed the teenage victim, who has learning difficulties, and twice sexually assaulted her after meeting her in a park near her Leicester home.

The teenager, who had no sexual experience, was left distraught.

Sentencing Evans at Leicester Crown Court, Judge Simon Hammond said: “He took advantage of a vulnerable young female for sexual gratification.

“Vulnerable females need to be protected from sexual predators. He groomed her on Facebook by flattering her.

“During the trial she was distressed. She said she felt she was taken advantage of by this man and no longer trusts people.

“She was sexually innocent and she has been left feeling insecure and frightened.”

Evans, of Dunbar Road, Northfields, Leicester, came into contact with the victim on social networking site Facebook, and flattered her by saying she was “cute and sexy,” the court heard.

He told her he wanted to meet her to ask for advice about his girlfriend and she agreed to meet him near her home in Leicester at 6pm on July 6, 2010.

They went to a park, but he said he told the victim he did not want to be seen, because of his girlfriend.

She suggested they went to a nearby alleyway to talk and told him she was upset about her exams, so he gave her a cuddle.

Judge Hammond said: “No boy had ever given her a cuddle before.”

Evans began to kiss the teenager on her neck, cheeks and lips and then sexually assaulted her twice.

Judge Hammond said: “She made it plain throughout she was not consenting.

“The next day he changed his mobile phone number so it wouldn’t show a link to her.”

Evans denied twice sexually assaulting the victim, but was convicted on both counts by a jury by 11-1 majority verdicts.

He still denies any wrongdoing.

Julie Warburton, prosecuting, said the victim, who formerly attended a special needs school, felt Evans targeted her because of her difficulties.

Evans will be on a sex offender register for life and was placed on a sex offences prevention order so his future computer use can be monitored by the authorities.