August 2017

Man who groomed 14-year-old on Facebook thought others ‘overreacted’ to it, says judge

A man who claimed that he and a 14-year-old girl would make a lovely couple thought others “overreacted” to his grooming of her, said a judge.

Ricky Martin Bradley, 26, of Cwrt yr Ysgol, Prince of Wales Avenue, Flint, admitted arranging to meet a child after sexual grooming at Mold Crown Court today.

He was given a suspended prison sentence but was warned by a judge that he did not appear to appreciate how serious his behaviour had been.

Judge David Hale said he was worried by some of Bradley’s comments in his pre-sentence report.

“You think everyone has overreacted to what you have done,” he said.

“We have not. You underreacted.”

The court heard his victim was a vulnerable girl who had a difficult life.

“You obviously fancied that young girl,” said the judge.

“Twice you tried to persuade her to meet you.

“It was not with a view expressed for sex at the time but for cuddles.

“But it would have been totally inappropriate and who knows where it might have led.

“You were very, very stupid and you have caused her a lot of harm.”

Prosecuting barrister Anna Pope said the defendant became a Facebook friend of the girl, who he knew, and offered to cuddle her to warm her up.

He sent a picture of a couple kissing, asked if she wanted a kiss and said she needed a boyfriend.

Bradley said it would not be right if they kissed, but then asked if it would be right if they did.

He asked if she wanted more, offered her a back massage and said that he had a funny feeling that they would both kiss each other after a cuddle.

Miss Pope said he claimed they would make a lovely couple.

Arrangements to meet were made but meetings did not take place.

Bradley referred to his erection and asked her what she would do if she felt it.

He said they should not have sex unless she wanted to try. She replied that she did not want to go that far.

Miss Pope said the girl’s mother got to know of the messages, which ran for a three-month period up to Christmas, and the police were informed.

Arrested and interviewed in January, he agreed that they exchanged messages and he said he was trying to build her confidence up.

Asked about the sexualised message, he initially blamed work colleagues – but then accepted he was responsible.

When police asked him what his intentions were if they did meet, he said ”just probably a quick cuddle”.

The girl said she felt worried, and that it had affected her schoolwork and caused problems in her personal life.

Judge Hale said she was “emotionally frail” at the time.

Bradley received a 12-month prison sentence suspended for two years with 40 days rehabilitation. If suitable, he must follow a programme run by the probation service.

He was ordered to register with the police as a sex offender for 10 years, and a five-year sexual harm prevention order was made.

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