June 2017

Businessman ‘Pursued’ under age girl before committing crimes

An aspiring businessman has been jailed for more than three years for having sex with an under-age girl.

Simon Liversidge, 34, of Barfoss Place, Selby, is said to have groomed the youngster to get her to have sex with him.

Prosecutor David McGonigal said Liversidge taught the girl sexual techniques and had full consensual sex with her on at least 10 occasions between May 2004 and March 2005, when he was a student in York.

Liversidge, of Barfoss Place, Selby, was arrested when the girl, who was 14 or 15 at the times of the offences, went to police.

He was charged with various sexual offences against the youngster including two counts of sexual activity with a child under the age of 16, which he admitted.

He denied five other charges including a third count of sexual activity with a child and two counts of rape. The Crown Prosecution Service claimed that one of the alleged rapes occurred after Liversidge had strangled the girl with a curtain.

He also denied two counts of assault occasioning actual bodily harm, where he was alleged to have kicked the girl in the stomach.

Liversidge denied each of these five charges and took the case to trial last month, when a jury found him not guilty on each of the five denied matters, including rape and ABH. Jurors believed Liversidge’s claim that the alleged rape incidents were consensual sex.

Mr McGonigal told York Crown Court that the girl initially told Liversidge she was older than 14 years but he did not believe her and she told him her true age. The two of them then started texting each other.

Mr McGonigal said Liversidge had sex with the girl “on no less than 10 occasions” at the property when she was under the age of consent.

The barrister said there was a “degree of planning and grooming”.

“This was a man of 19 or 20 who clearly wanted to have Sexual intercourse with a much younger girl and he went about it by encouraging her… by sending texts and being nice to her to get what he wanted” added Mr McGonigal.

He added that Liversidge had no previous convictions but in the past there had been incidents “of a domestic nature” involving females of a similar age to him. He was described as “controlling and abusive”.

Defence barrister Andrew Stranex claimed there was no grooming by Liversidge and that he had not initially sought to target an under-age girl.

“He is working hard to in the business that he is trying to build up” added Mr Stranex.

Judge Andrew Stubbs QC told Liversidge he had exploited a girl who was not only younger but much less mature than him.

“You were plainly in a different league, in maturity terms, to your victim, who was still a schoolgirl” added Mr Stubbs.

“When you met her, I’m satisfied she told you how old she really was. That didn’t deter you from keeping contact with her, providing her with your number and texting her messages”.

Mr Stubbs said that even though “vulnerable” girl consented to sex, Liversidge was “the instigator and more experienced”.

He said he believed that Liversidge had groomed the girl “because of the way you pursued this child and inveigled her so that… you could do what you wanted to her”.

Liversidge was given a 40-month jail sentence and made subject to a restraining order, which will run indefinitely and prohibits him from contacting the victim.

He was placed on the sex offenders register for life and an SHPO order was put in place.