December 2010

Decade in jail for child molester

A CHILD molester who groomed and abused a vulnerable teenage schoolgirl has been jailed for 10 years.

Craig Reid, 36, targeted and used the underage girl, subjecting her to a series of worsening sexual assaults, Teesside Crown Court heard.

A judge, Recorder Tom Bayliss QC, told Reid: “Her attempts to deter you were useless. She was vulnerable in your hands. She says she was scared and didn’t know what to do.

“She told you to stop, but you persisted.

“It was all a form of sexual grooming. Having groomed that child, you progressed to more serious forms of sexual assaults.

“These were not opportunistic or impulsive offences. All of this amounts to a pattern of sexual abuse of a vulnerable child.

“You used inappropriate sexual language, engaged in sexual horse-play in order to see just how far you could go, to much more damaging behaviour. You relied on the fact that she would be too embarrassed and intimidated to tell anyone.”

When the girl, who cannot be named, reported Reid, he denied it all. He now says he is truly sorry and is “totally ashamed and disgusted” about his actions.

“But when you were caught, you called the victim a liar,” the judge pointed out.

“It wasn’t until she gave evidence and remained steadfast in the face of cross-examination, that you admitted what you had done.”

Reid, formerly of Greywood Close, Hartlepool, admitted his crimes on the second day of his trial in October. Now of no fixed address, he pleaded guilty to seven sexual assault charges and one of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

The girl said in a statement she was angry that she was made to endure the “scary” ordeal of giving evidence. She said she now felt calmer and wanted to move on and put it all behind her.

Reid’s late guilty pleas to the crimes, dating to 2008 and 2009, were the only thing which saved him from an indefinite jail sentence.

The judge said one of the sexual assaults was in the highest category of its type, earning a 10-year sentence on its own.

Prison terms for the other seven counts, ranging from one to four years, are concurrent.

Reid was given an indefinite sexual offences prevention order banning him from unsupervised contact or activities with under-16s.

He was assessed as a high risk to children, will be banned from working with children and will be on the sex offenders’ register for life.

Christine Egerton, defending Reid who had no relevant previous convictions, said the remorse was genuine and his pleas gave the girl and her family certainty, belatedly. Reid said he would undergo a treatment programme.