Man jailed for ‘grooming’ teenage girl

Court news.
Court news.

A man who groomed a vulnerable 14 year old girl over the internet before meeting her in Sleaford has been jailed for three years and three months at Lincoln Crown Court.

Darren Hadman, 40, Wetherby Close, Bourne, made contact with the girl through a chat room and she initially thought he was a 16 year old boy called Tom.

Esther Harrison, prosecuting, said the girl later learned he was in his 30s but remained in contact with Hadman.

She sent him explicit photographs of herself after he encouraged her to do so. They also exchanged explicit messages, said Miss Harrison.

The pair met up in a car park in Sleaford in March 2013 when Hadman kissed the teenager and groped her.

Police were contacted after the girl’s mother discovered text messages on her daughter’s phone.

Miss Harrison said: “The girl was vulnerable. She came from a rather sheltered background and her parents were very protective of her.

“The evidence is that the defendant had a sexual interest in young girls that led to him possessing indecent images and grooming the girl to send him naked pictures of herself. He then met up and engaged in sexual activity with her.”

Hadman pleaded guilty to a charge of meeting a child following grooming between February 1 and March 28, 2013.

Hadman also admitted sexual activity with the girl and a charge of inciting the same girl to engage in sexual activity.

He further pleaded guilty to distributing indecent photographs of a child, possession of 318 indecent photographs of children and five charges of making an indecent image of a child.

Hadman was jailed for a total of three years and three months. He was also given a restraining order banning him from contacting his victim for 10 years.

Michael Cranmer-Brown, defending, challenged the suggestion that the victim was the vulnerable and innocent teenager as portrayed by the prosecution.

Mr Cranmer-Brown said: “What you have here is a man in his mid-30s who was going through a difficult time in his own relationship. He went on the internet and began to chat to, as it turned out, an under age girl. He wasn’t seeking out such a person.”

Judge John Pini QC, passing sentence, told Hadman: “She was a vulnerable girl. This girl was young for her age and very naïve. She had never had a boyfriend. It was easy for a scheming paedophile to take advantage of her. Children like that need protecting from themselves and they need protecting from people like you.

“Throughout all of this you were the adult and you were the one who should have said no. I utterly reject your suggestion that the girl was in any way at fault.”