February 2015

Pervert met up with 14-year-old at supermarket before taking her to secluded area

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A PREDATORY paedophile met up with his victim in a supermarket car park before taking her off to a secluded area of town, a court heard.

John-Paul Graham, of Great Bolton Street, Blackburn, had preyed on the vulnerable teenager even though he had been warned by police to keep away from her.

Officers had served the 27-year-old kickboxer with a child abduction warning notice because of concerns they had about his behaviour. But he ignored it and still tried to meet up with the 14-year-old, who was in care and had been reported as missing, prosecutors said.

They carried out hotspot inquiries and came across the defendant on the Aldi car park, near Barbara Castle Way, the court heard.

After the hearing, DS Mark Whelan said: “He was observed to meet the child and then walk to a secluded area in Blackburn with her, which is when he was arrested.”

Officers checked Graham’s telephone call history and found he had been contacting the girl for a while. They also found her underwear when they searched his room at the Islington Motel.

Graham pleaded guilty to non-penetrative sexual activity with a child and two counts of child abduction.

He was sentenced to 27 months in prison when he appeared at Preston Crown Court.

He was also put on the Sex Offender Register for life, made subject to a sexual offences prevention order until further order, and given a barring order.

DS Whelan said the victim is now receiving support from the engage team, which is based at Greenbank Police Station, Blackburn. The team was set up as a multi-agency partnership in March 2008 to address child sexual exploitation in Blackburn and Darwen.

DS Whelan said: “Graham is an opportunist offender who can only be described as a predator after he failed to take account of the police warning notice.

“We tried to protect her from him by issuing the notice but he still arranged to meet up with her in the street. He chose to ignore the warning notice. He tried to blame the activities on the child, which clearly the court disagreed with.

“This case shows the proactive work the child sexual exploitation and engage teams do.”