July 2011

Defendant who took boy to his home for sexual activity had child porn conviction

A “predatory paedophile” who groomed a vulnerable 14-year-old boy through a gay chatroom was jailed for three years.

Jon Sparkes, 31, was already subject to a conditional discharge for downloading hundreds of indecent images of children when he targeted the “naive” teenager.

Bradford Crown Court was told yesterday that Sparkes groomed the boy for about two weeks, communicating by internet chatroom and mobile phone.

The pair talked about their sexuality, the teenager saying he was a virgin and gay. They arranged to meet and talked about what sexual contact they might have.

Prosecutor Kitty Taylor said Sparkes picked up the boy, on January 23 this year, from a location near his home in Lincolnshire and drove him to his home in Dyson Street,Brighouse, where consensual sex acts took place.

Mrs Taylor said: “It’s clear the boy was intrigued and wanted to meet and have a homosexual experience.”

But she said: “Though the boy was consenting, and was fully aware what was to happen, due to his age and dawning sexuality he was vulnerable and lacking in experience and maturity. He was trusting and unaware of the potential danger he placed himself in by going with a stranger far away from his home without the knowledge of his parents.”

Sparkes drove the boy back to his home town after an exchange of text messages between the teenager and a schoolfriend he had confided in. Police followed Sparkes to his home and he was arrested.

The court heard Sparkes had been given a conditional discharge in 2009 for possessing images of children, which included an 18-minute film at the most serious level five.

In mitigation his barrister, Keith Harrison, said the boy was not forced in any way. He said Sparkes had courageously admitted what he had done.

Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC said Sparkes had been anxious to meet the boy for his sexual gratification and had given no thought to his vulnerability.

He said: “This was abuse of a vulnerable and trusting young man purely for paedophile and predatory purposes.”

Sparkes pleaded guilty to two charges of sexual activity with a child and one of sexual grooming.

He was jailed for a total of two years and nine months, with a further three months for breaching the conditional discharge.