September 2017

Darlington man had sex with underage girl he groomed

A MAN who groomed an underage girl and had sex with her was yesterday jailed for five years.

Gary Drummond, 25, bought the teenager a mobile phone and clothes, and plied her with vodka and cannabis.

The girl’s mother became suspicious when her lies and behaviour caused tension at their home.

In a statement, she said: “I can honestly say although she acts tough, she is very vulnerable and is easy to prey on.”

On Drummond’s phone, there was a photograph of the pair kissing and cuddling, and another of the youngster’s naked breast, said prosecutor Ian Mullarkey.

He had initially denied buying his victim cannabis or alcohol, and said at first he thought she was 17, but later learned her true age.

Drummond, of Roslyn Street, Darlington, admitted two charges of causing a child to engage in sexual activity, and one of meeting a child following sexual grooming.

Judge Ashurst also ordered him to sign on the sex offenders’ register for the rest of his life, and banned him from having unsupervised contact with under-16s.

He told Drummond: “Until the summer, you have no previous criminal convictions.

“Over a short period of weeks, you groomed her by treating her well, and she was flattered by that attention.

“In my judgement, she was plainly vulnerable by reason of her very young age, and really still a child in every respect, and the damage you have done may be difficult to calculate now, and it may take many years before the true impact is known to all concerned.”