December 2015

Schoolgirl groomed on Facebook by pervert put on suicide watch

A SCHOOLGIRL who was groomed on Facebook by a Bolton father has been put on suicide watch, a court heard.

The 13-year-old is now considered to be at “high risk of suicide” and has been spotted walking on railway tracks, Bolton crown Court was told.

Paul Caton, who was yesterday jailed for four years and eight months, posed online as an 18-year-old woman named Jade and befriended the girl, using an image of a woman as his profile picture.

The girl told ‘Jade’ that people had been horrible to her in the past and Caton pledged to “stick up for her”.

But eventually the girl from Brighton was asked to send sexually explicit pictures of herself to the account.

When the girl asked if she could stop sending the images, Caton threatened her, saying he would publish some of the previously sent explicit images online.

As part of the 12-month grooming campaign, Caton also offered to pick the girl up from school and take her to a hotel where they “could sleep in a big bed”.

But the girl told someone about the offer before it was arranged, and police launched an investigation.

Mobile phones were examined, which showed pictures had been sent and that offers to meet the girl in Worthing or Brighton had been made online.

Officers traced the IP address from which the messages had been sent to Caton’s home in Glenbrook Gardens, Farnworth, and he was arrested in March last year in front of his partner and four-year-old son.

His laptop and mobile phones were seized, which revealed hundreds of indecent images of children as well as extreme pornographic images involving animals.

In a victim impact statement from the girl’s social worker, the court heard that she has been considered to be at “high risk of suicide”.

Reading out the statement, prosecutor Andrew Macintosh said: “She has started travelling to railway stations and walking on the railway tracks wanting to end her life.

“She was sectioned and is now in a mental health hospital. She has been looking at websites about suicide and eating disorders.”

The social worker added that the girl, now aged 16, already had “multiple complex behavioural needs” but that Caton’s offending had made things worse.

Recorder Peter Atherton told Caton: “You planned your actions, you lied about your age and gender and you kept the images and used threats to get more.

“She is considered to be at high risk of suicide, and you actions are likely to have contributed greatly to her distress.”

Caton previously pleaded guilty to one count of inciting a girl to engage in sexual activity, 11 counts of making an indecent image of a child, four counts of possessing an extreme pornographic image and three counts of possessing indecent images of a child.

He was ordered to sign the sex offenders register for life.