May 2019

This outwardly respectable married grandfather groomed a 13-year-old girl for sex with gifts

A married grandfather groomed a vulnerable young girl by buying her gifts in the hope of having sex with her.

To the outside world Malcolm Whitfield was a respected family man who had worked in a trusted position training security industry professionals.

But now he has lost his previous good character after developing an illegal attraction to a 13-year-old schoolgirl and grooming her for more than a year.

A court heard the 65-year-old would take her on trips, buy her ice cream, buy “relatively high value gifts” and even took her to his caravan for two days, her family believing his wife was going when in fact it was just him and the child.

He also offered to pay £100 for a school trip for her and arranged to meet her at school to pay it, then told her it would “cost her” sex.

On another occasion he took three pictures of her clothed genital area while she bent over, although he deleted them and said he was disgusted at his behaviour.

Whitfield, who kissed the girl on the lips, pleaded guilty to grooming and was jailed for 28 months at Newcastle Crown Court on Thursday.

Judge Sarah Mallett told him: “She was a child whose life was extremely difficult to start with.

“She was targeted because of her particular vulnerability, she was a particularly vulnerable child due to her personal circumstances.”

As well as the prison sentence, Whitfield, of Windsor Avenue, Gateshead, must sign the sex offenders register for ten years and will be subject to a sexual harm prevention order for the same period.