December 2015

Pervert admits grooming girl 13

A 25-YEAR-OLD man has admitted grooming a schoolgirl in Barrow as he was due to stand trial. 

Ashley Hartley, of Arnold Villas, Tiptree, Colchester, met the 13-year-old in Barrow after making contact with her in April. 

His victim was the second youngster to fall prey to Hartley’s sexual advances after he previously engaged in sexual activity with a teenager. 

Hartley was charged with rape and sexual assault of the schoolgirl but following discussions between lawyers the prosecution accepted an alternative plea of sexual activity with a child. 

Hartley pleaded guilty to the charges relating to the first girl at a hearing at Burnley Crown Court on November 2 but denied meeting a second child following sexual grooming and was due to stand trial at Preston Crown Court this week. 

But on the day he was due to stand trial Hartley changed his plea and admitted he had met the girl in Barrow between April 5 and 10. 

During the brief hearing in Preston Hartley spoke only to confirm his identity and enter his guilty plea to a single count of meeting a child following sexual grooming. 

He has been granted bail but will return to court on January 15 to be sentenced for both offences. 

Judge Christopher Cornwall warned Hartley the offences he had admitted were so serious a prison sentence is inevitable.

However he ordered a pre-sentence report to assist him in passing sentence in January.