Pervert jailed for grooming

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A PERVERT who abducted a schoolgirl and plied her with vodka for sex after grooming her over Facebook, has been jailed for 16 months.

Burnley Crown Court heard how Ralph Stokes, 31, a convicted child sex offender, never actually did anything indecent to the 14-year-old girl as the victim’s worried friend alerted the girl’s mother.

But, he had asked her for a kiss and to perform a sex act and a judge said he was quite satisfied Stokes was intending to get the girl involved in some form of sexual activity with him.

Stokes had been jailed for three years in 2006 for sexually assaulting a child under 13 and causing or inciting the little girl to engage in sexual activity. He had been placed on the sex offenders’ register indefinitely.

The defendant, of Queen Street, Barnoldswick, admitted child abduction and inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

He was placed on the sex offenders’ register for 10 years and was given a 10 year sexual offences prevention order, banning any unsupervised contact with children under 16.

Hugh Barton, prosecuting, said the defendant sent the victim messages on Facebook and they became increasingly sexual.

He talked about her being naked on his bed, asked her how far she had gone with boys and indicated he had condoms and that sex would be possible.

On May 26th, the girl had lied about her movements to her mother and met the defendant. He had bought some vodka, took her back to his house and they stayed there for three hours.

Stokes gave the schoolgirl vodka, asked her to kiss him, invited her to take her tights off and told her: “I will rip them off if you carry on like that.”

Mr Barton said the 14-year-old’s friend was aware of where she was, grew concerned and contacted the victim’s mother. The mother looked at the girl’s Facebook messages from the defendant and he was arrested.

The hearing was told when the defendant was questioned, he admitted sending the messages, but denied they were serious and claimed they were simply jokes. He denied he had had any sexual intentions towards the girl, but admitted he had asked her for a kiss at his house.

Martin Hackett, for the defendant, said there had been no sexual contact between Stokes and the girl. The barrister added: “He didn’t lock her in the house. He didn’t refuse to let her go. He didn’t indecently assault her.”

Sentencing, Judge Andrew Woolman told Stokes he was quite satisfied that the whole purpose of what he had been doing was to get the girl involved in some form of sexual activity with him.

He said: “Whether it would have happened that day or not, I don’t know.” The judge continued: “I wonder what might have happened if her mother hadn’t become aware of what was going on.”

Judge Woolman said the most worrying aspect of the case was Stokes’s previous conviction and he went on: “There is a pattern building up of you seeking deliberate contact with young girls for sexual purposes.”