December 2007

Nutley paedophile snared teenager on internet

A paedophile who had sex with a 14-year-old schoolgirl he met on the internet has been jailed for six years.

Depressed and lonely architect Christopher Harrison, 37, embarked on a three-month sexual relationship with the girl after finding her email address from the networking site Bebo.

He collected her from school in his car, cooked her a meal and watched a DVD before bedding her.

They then met up every Saturday for sex on four occasions at his home in Nutley before Harrison ended the relationship.

Lewes Crown Court heard how the offences came to light when the parents of an 11-year-old girl from Durham found sexually explicit text messages from Harrison on her phone.

She sent him a picture of herself wearing just a thong after meeting him on Facebox and Harrison asked her to send him more naked pictures of her.

Prosecutor Oliver Dunkin said Harrison also told the girl he wanted to have sex with her in a hotel.

He said: “This case involves the defendant’s conduct with these girls in Internet chatrooms.

“The offences arose out of sexually explicit communications between an 11-year-old girl and Harrison.

“As part of this she sent him a photograph of herself showing the bottom half of herself dressed only in a thong.

“Her parents discovered the contact and called the police. As a result of the investigation the offences in relation to the other girl were discovered.”

Harrison, of Tunbridge Wells, Kent, pleaded guilty to sexual intercourse with a child, sexual activity with a child and possession of an indecent image.

Defending, Alissa Scott-Beckett said: “He turned to the Internet to find companionship and to look for a relationship with a female.”

Judge Charles Kemp jailed Harrison for six years and issued him with an indefinite sexual offences prevention order after deciding he would still pose a risk to children even after his release from prison.

He told him: “You embarked on this course of conduct when you at a time when you were lonely and depressed. You turned to your computer and the internet for solace.

“You were dealing with children. However much they sought your company and reciprocated your attentions yours is the responsibility and for that you are going to pay.”

Harrison was also put on the sex offenders’ register for life.

Detectives said the case served as a reminder to parents to be vigilant about whom their children were contacting online.

Detective Inspector Martin Sapwell, of Sussex Police, said: “Christopher Harrison used the power of the internet to prey on vulnerable young girls around the country.

“This case should serve as a reminder to parents of the need to monitor who their children are corresponding with via the internet and that they should not divulge personal details about themselves or send photographs unless they really know the person to whom the information is being passed.

“Children need to be reminded that everyone they meet online is a stranger, even though they might seem like a friend.

“They should always use a nickname when they log on and never include their full name, home, school, home or mobile telephone number or personal email.

“They should never arrange to meet up alone with someone they make friends with online and always talk to an adult if they have any concerns.”