July 2013

Father-to-be groomed East Lancashire girl in care

A PERVERT groomed a vulnerable 14-year-old girl for sexual purposes at a time when his dentist wife was due to have their second child.

Magistrates heard Gabriel Luque Meza promised the girl – who was in the care of Blackburn with Darwen social services – ‘weed’ and alcohol as he tried to persuade her to meet him.

But staff at the care home where she was living became suspicious and alerted police after reading sexually explicit messages on her phone.

Meza, 30, of Davenport Road, Blackpool, pleaded guilty to sexual grooming and was committed in custody to Preston Crown Court for sentencing.

Alex Mann, prosecuting, said the girl had been targeted over a number of weeks because of her vulnerability.

“The contact was particularly explicit as far as his intentions are concerned,” said Mrs Mann.

She said the girl was not from a stable family background and appeared to be in a vulnerable position.

“Fortunately she is being looked after very well by Blackburn with Darwen social services who had concerns and started monitoring her,” said Mrs Mann.

“They saw the messages on her phone which were obviously trying to get her to meet him.”

Mrs Mann said a 16-year-old friend at the children’s home raised her concerns with staff that there was a potential meeting between the girl and Meza.

Andrew Church-Taylor, defending, said Meza met his wife, a NHS dentist, when she did voluntary work in Peru eight years ago.

He travelled back with her and he had been working as a care assistant in a senior citizen’s home for seven years.

“His wife is due to give birth in the next few days,” said Mr Church-Taylor.

He said Meza had made contact with the girl through Facebook at her request. She claimed to be living with her mother in the Blackburn area and that she was over 16 years of age.

“The explicit messages were sent electronically but when there were actual conversations between them they were of a normal nature,” said Mr Church-Taylor. “It was only when it was committed to text that sordid messages were sent.”

Speaking after the court hearing, Nick McPartlan, manager of the police and council’s Engage team, which tackles child sexual grooming in Blackburn with Darwen, said: “We work hard in this borough to ensure that all of our children and young people remain safe and alert to the fact that there are unfortunately unscrupulous and predatory people who actively seek to target some of our most vulnerable young people.

“We provide safeguarding training for our staff who are involved in looking after or educating young people. In this case the matter was acted upon as soon as it came to light and police were alerted immediately.”