January 2012

Barman jailed for sex with girl, 13, he met via Facebook

BARMAN Arran Landless, who had sex with a 13-year-old girl he met on Facebook, has been jailed after he was caught in a trap set by his ex-girlfriend.

The 26-year-old, who called himself “Rock Father Baron Landless” on the social networking site, sobbed in the dock as he was jailed for three and a half years.

He was also ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register for life.

Landless, of Boverton Drive, in Brockworth, denied a charge of sexual touching between February 16 and March 1 last year. While he admitted they had sex, he said he believed the girl was over 16.

Jailing the drama and production graduate, Judge Jamie Tabor QC said he was satisfied the offence was an exception.

He said: “In my opinion he was approached by a girl who, in his words, was up for it and he couldn’t resist it.”

The court heard the girl had willingly had sex with Landless but later regretted her actions when she discovered he was so much older.

Through Facebook, she contacted his ex-girlfriend Sadie Smith and the pair set up a “sting” to catch him out.

The girl agreed to meet Landless and he took her back to his home where Ms Smith confronted him with pages from his explicit Facebook conversations with the girl.

Ms Smith then took Landless to the police station.

Prosecutor James Ward told the court Landless used compliments to “sweet-talk the girl into bed” after meeting her and taking her to his home.

Landless told the jury the girl had not told him her age and the way she exchanged sexual banter convinced him she was a mature 16 or over.

He insisted physically she seemed to be 16 as well.

Defending, Paul Trotman had urged the judge to pass a sentence at the lower end of the three to seven-year bracket stipulated by the Sentencing Guidelines Council.

Mr Trotman said Landless was of previous exemplary character and there were many references supporting him. He had worked as a barman for three years.

“He says he has had 27 sexual partners and this girl was by far the youngest. He tells me that on average his partners are 17 to 19 and certainly he has never had sexual intercourse with anyone under the legal limit previously,” he said.

Mr Trotman said the girl had conceded in evidence that Landless was nice to her and behaved very well and that there was no question of him pressurising her into sex.

He added that Landless came from a loving and supportive family. Passing sentence, Judge Tabor said: “I have no doubt this girl was enthusiastic to begin her sexual life and she chanced upon you and you, regrettably, were enthusiastic, too.”