February 2015

Jailed: Paedophile groomed schoolgirl for sex using Facebook

An online groomer who had sex with a 15-year-old girl and tried to entice a 13-year-old to his flat had been jailed for 30 months.

David Bull got in contact with both girls on Facebook and ‘wormed his way into their favours’, Stafford Crown Court heard.

Mr Robert Price, prosecuting, said Bull, then 19, sent the younger girl text messages asking her to have sex with him.

Bull made repeated requests for the girl to visit him at his flat and although she continued with the messages, she had no intention of going there.

When the messaging was discovered on her phone, a youth officer from the area where she lives set up a phoney Facebook account under the pseudonym ‘Holly’, pretending to be a 14-year-old girl, and was put in touch with Bull.

She engaged him in conversation and when she said she was only 14, Bull’s response was that age wasn’t a problem – and gave her his address. Police arrested him in May 2013 and under questioning, Bull confessed to having sex with a 15-year-old girl.

Bull, now 22, of Canford Place, Cannock, admitted arranging to meet a 13-year-old by sexual grooming, two charges of sexual activity with a 15-year-old and one charge of causing a child to engage in sexual activity.

Judge Mark Eades told him: “I find this case concerning because it involves not just one girl, but two, both pretty much at the same time. [The 13 year old] was vulnerable to sexual grooming from someone like you. The matter doesn’t end there because you also had a sexual relationship with a 15-year-old. There is a clear degree of persistence and a proclivity towards under-age girls and worming your way into their favours through grooming on the internet.”

Bull was also ordered to register as a sex offender indefinitely.

Mr Price said it was the younger girl who contacted Bull first on Facebook but it was him who instigated the sexual conversations.

After his confession about the 15-year-old, police were able to trace the victim. She said she had sex with Bull on two separate occasions after meeting him on Facebook.

When her parents suspected something was going on, she was grounded but continued contact with Bull although their relationship ended about a month later.

Mr Neil Gerrity, defending, said Bull was only 19 when the offences took place. “He is not the sort of predator you might expect in a case like this. [He is] one who associates more comfortably with younger people. The internet provides an easy way for him to talk to people, particularly girls.”

Without his voluntary confession, the authorities would never have known about the 15-year-old, added Mr Gerrity.