A perverted man hid behind a fake identity as he repeatedly used the internet to sexually pursue vulnerable schoolgirls.
At Carlisle Crown Court, a judge jailed 39-year-old Steven James Gilberston for three years after hearing how he groomed a vulnerable 15-year-old girl for sex and then went online and pestered two 14-year-old girls for sex.
Prosecutor Richard Orme outlined how the defendant, from Brampton – described by police as predatory – used Facebook and text messages to groom his first victim.
Using the alias Steven Faulkes, he contacted her and, despite her saying she was just 15, he pestered her – saying he was attracted to her and would make her happy.
“The defendant would constantly text on a daily basis, asking [the girl] do you want me, do you want to stay, do you want to be with me,” said the barrister.
When the teenager said she was too young for him, he told her: “Honestly, you’re not too young for me. I’m proud and pleased that you’re interested in me.”
Mr Orme said: “The defendant would pester [the girl] with texts throughout the night and even if she fell asleep he would continue to text in order to wake her up. He would wake her with texts such as: ‘I wanna do bad things to you’.”
Mr Orme said Gilbertson continued to groom [the girl], suggesting she should move in with him, be his fiancee, and have a baby with him.
He claimed he was “head over heels in love” with her.
Eventually, just after she turned 16, Gilbertson met the teenager and he had sex with her, the court was told. The grooming came to light in June after the girl’s mother reported her missing. Police found her at the defendant’s address.
When police experts searched the defendant’s computer equipment they found he had regularly trawled the internet for sexual material relating to children – both in their early teens and young children.
The prosecutor then described how four days before the Gilbertson was arrested he was in a Facebook Messenger exchange with two 14-year-old girls.
After being told the first girl was just 14, he claimed he was in his 20s, and asked her if she would consider seeing “somebody older.”
“The defendant asked [the girl]what she was doing that day and tried to persuade her to get a bus to Brampton, even providing her with the bus times, saying he would meet her off the bus,” said Mr Orme.
Later, Gilbertson’s comments became increasingly perverted, and he asked both girls to have sex with him, saying he could do this for 12 hours.
The defendant, of St Martin’s Drive, admitted three offences: sexual grooming by sexually communicating with a child; and two counts of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.
Recorder Michael Murray told the defendant: “I am satisfied that your intention was a real attempt, just just fantasy.”
In addition to the jail term, the judge said Gilbertson’s name would be put on the Sex Offenders’ Register indefinitely; and he also approved a Sexual Harm Prevention Order, banning the defendant from ever working with children.