May 2011

Redditch man admits to meeting girl following sexual grooming

A GIRL of 13 pretended she was two years older when she exchanged sexual messages with a man she contacted on the internet, a court heard.

She eventually agreed to meet Marcus Pearson, who was 20 at the time, but took flight when he saw him waiting in a car outside Redditch Library.

Police were alerted after the girl told her mother what had been happening and Pearson was arrested at his home in Brockhill Lane, Redditch.

Pearson, now 22, pleaded guilty at Worcester Crown Court to meeting a child following sexual grooming. He was given a three-year community order with three years supervision. He must also attend a sex offender group programme and was ordered to pay £1,200 costs.

He was also ordered to register as a sex offender for five years and Judge John Cavell also made a sexual offences prevention order.

Raj Punia, prosecuting, said Pearson asked the girl on several occasions to have sex. He said he was 17 and they arranged to meet but she became frightened, panicked and left. Her mother became suspicious when she saw her upset.

Miss Punia said Pearson had admitted contacting other young girls and one had sent him a picture of her naked. He had met one but they had only kissed and not had sex.

Harpreet Sandhu, defending, submitted six references and said Pearson was of good character and was known as a hard-working and caring individual. He had voluntarily given up working with youth groups at the church he attended.

Judge Cavell said the prosecution had accepted that Pearson genuinely believed the girl was 15. There was no meeting but had there been sexual activity, it would have been consensual.

Pearson was looking for a relationship rather than sexual gratification. The sex offences prevention order would mean that Pearson was banned from contacting children under the age of 16 and his computer would be monitored.