October 2015

Businessman jailed for eight years after posing as a teenager online then sexually abusing girl

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A businessman has been jailed for sexually abusing a schoolgirl after grooming her over the internet.

Using a pseudonym and posing as a teenager, Sukhpal Sidhu, 43, used the dating website hi5.com to find his victim, a girl of 15 from Stockport.

The divorced father-of-two, behind a series of failed corner shops, bombarded her with texts and phone calls and told the girl he loved her.

The youngster was so seduced by him she agreed to sneak out of her home at night to meet Sidhu. 

The pair had a series of sexual liaisons in his Ford Mondeo in March, 2013, after he had parked up around the corner from her house, a court heard.

Sidhu also persuaded the girl to text him an indecent picture of herself.

His crimes only began to unravel when the victim’s parents asked their daughter how she had racked up a £200 mobile phone bill in one month.

The teenager admitted what had been going on and the police were called.

Detectives raided one of his corner shops, in Cleveleys, Blackpool, but he wasn’t there.

The next day the police visited his home on Town Street in Pudsey, west Yorkshire, and arrested Sidhu.

Officers found hundreds of contact details for girls written down on pieces of paper, including phone numbers and email addresses.

His victim had initially been contacted on hi5.com by ‘Bal’, who said he was aged 17 and who persuaded the girl to meet his ‘older cousin’ Sidhu. Police believe Sidhu and Bal were one and the same, and that Sidhu had used a number of aliases to meet girls on the internet.

He met his victim for sex after diverting to Stockport on his way home from Blackpool to Pudsey.

Sidhu denied the crimes but he was found guilty of three counts of sexual activity with a child and one count of inciting a child into sexual activity.

Judge Stuart Driver QC sentenced Sidhu, who has no previous convictions, to eight years behind bars.

The defendant was also ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register for life.

After the hearing, Detective Constable Chris Horsfield, of Stockport CID, described Sidhu as a ‘devious predator’.

The officer continued: “At the time the victim thought she was in love. He sent letters saying he loves her. It was typical grooming.”

He added: “She comes from a nice, ordinary family. Her parents are absolutely mortified. They cannot believe they didn’t see the signs.”