November 2015

50-year-old who tried to get vulnerable young girl to engage in sexual activity walks free from court

Alan Wellbelove sent numerous texts to a teenage girl as he badgered her to go to bed with him.

But after deciding the public would be better protected by him getting help a judge at Swindon Crown Court imposed a suspended jail term.

Colin Meeke, prosecuting, said the defendant had known the girl’s family for a number of years when in January he sent her a series of suggestive text messages.

“These messages are puerile, in many respects, but become increasingly sexual. They come to a point they were incitements to penetrative sexual activity,” he said.

The messages, then from a man, of 49, were “wholly inappropriate”.

He said that while the girl had gone along with the conversation she was a child and he, as an adult, had the responsibility to conduct himself properly.

As a result Mr Meeke said the child had been badly affected telling in a victim personal statement she was reduced to trying to take her life with an overdose.

She said: “I am worried Alan will try to contact me again on mobile phone or Facebook.”

Wellbelove, of Oak Close, Bishops Cannings, pleaded guilty to one count of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

Jason Taylor, defending, said his client realised what he had done was entirely wrong but pointed out no contact offence had ever taken place.

“He did, as you have identified, groom this young girl. This young girl was vulnerable because of her personal circumstances,” he said.

He urged the court to not impose a jail term but to allow him to complete a sex offender programme in the community.

Judge Peter Blair QC said: “You and she had this communication of a sexual nature where you were trying to incite her to commit sexual intercourse with you, she being under 16. That is an extremely serious matter.

“The consequences in the mind that this sort of conduct by an adult has is untold. It preys on people’s minds, it makes them worry.

“It makes them feel they have to avoid you when you are responsible, as an adult, in conducting yourself so they don’t have to fear and worry as you have heard.”

He imposed a three-month jail term suspended for two years with supervision and a Thames Valley Sex Offenders Programme.

The judge also made a restraining order banning him from contacting the girl and a sexual harm prevention order restricting his liberty for ten years.

He said: “If there is a prospect of someone being treated and their problems being addressed, that is acutely more productive for the public than just sending you to prison as you would come out as the same person.”