October 2015

Sex offender admits grooming schoolboy

A Wigan sex offender banned from contact with children breached the court order by having sexual activity with a 14-year-old boy, a court has heard.

Andrew Bell was today jailed for four years four months after admitting a total of eight offences and was ordered to sign the Sex Offenders Register for life.

Liverpool Crown Court heard that in December 2012 the Lakeland magistrates imposed a five year Sexual Offences Prevention Order on Bell banning him from unsupervised contact with under 16-year-olds  after he admitted sending obscene texts to a 14-year-old girl.

But between November last year and June 42-year-old Bell began chatting on line with a 14-year-old boy via the Gaydar gay website.

They arranged to meet in the car park at The Stag in Orrell, Wigan and drove to another car park at Ashurst Beacon where they sat chatting.

The victim later told police, “I was curious, he was nice. He was not a rough sort of man and I wanted to meet him.”

A series of texts between them then followed in which sex was raised and a couple of weeks later they met again and began having sexual activity together, said Andrew Ford, prosecuting.

After the matters came to light the boy said that he liked what had happened at the time he now regretted it. The police became involved after his sister showed his mum disturbing sexual messages and photographs on his iPad, though these did not involve Bell.

When arrested on June 3 Bell, of Kilburn Drive, Wigan, admitted involvement in sexual activity with the boy on five occasions, although the victim claimed it happened on more occasions, said Mr Ford.

Bell told officers he was gay and knew he was in breach of the SOPO. He said the boy had claimed to be 22 and later 18 but admitted when he met him he believed he was under 16. 

“I was uneasy knowing his age but it was sexual fun. When I realised it was wrong I deleted his number, it felt wrong and I felt foolish,” he said.

Steven Swift, defending, said that Bell is an intelligent man who used to work for a stockbroking firm in a training role.  He has complex medical problems and has been receiving pain relief while in custody.

Bell pleaded guilty to four offences of sexual activity with a 14-year-old boy and four offences of breaching his Sex Offences Prevention Order.

Judge Denis Watson, QC, told Bell that he had known he was “flouting” the previous court order and had also “known perfectly well that the boy was 14 and vulnerable where puberty and hormones were engaged and his sexuality was something he was having to come to terms with.”