May 2016

Father-of-three jailed after abusing vulnerable teenager

A NEWPORT father-of-three has been sentenced to five years in prison after grooming and abusing a “vulnerable” teenage girl.

Christian Morse, aged 42, of Moorland Park, previously pleaded guilty to possessing a prohibited image but denied six other charges, including sexual activity with a child under 16 and inciting a child under 16 to engage in sexual activity.

A jury found him guilty of all contested charges on April 28. He had been on remand ahead of his sentencing at Cardiff Crown Court on Wednesday.

Prosecutor Heath Edwards told the court that Morse abused the girl on two separate occasions.

Defending, Susan Ferrier said that Morse had just one previous conviction for benefit fraud.

She said: “I cannot argue with the fact that there was a degree of grooming in this case.

“But he desisted after the two occasions. What brought this matter to the court was that he resumed contact with her, having seen her and pursued her through messages.

“The impact of this case will of course be felt by Mr Morse but also those behind him in this case. They’re struggling to cope with the fact that Mr Morse is no longer with them.”

Summing up, Judge Michael Fitton said the teenager became infatuated with Morse because he behaved like a “flirty boyfriend” towards her.

He said: “You were friendly towards her and supportive to her when she was going through a period of teenage lack of confidence and poor self-esteem.

“When you did what you did, you knew perfectly well how wrong it was. As a father of young girls, you were entirely aware of the inappropriateness of what you did.

“You knew you were committing serious sexual assaults on a girl [who was] too young to consent to your conduct.”

Judge Fitton handed down a five-year concurrent sentence for the sexual activity with a girl under 16 charge; a three-year concurrent sentence for inciting a girl under 16 to engage in sexual activity; and a four-month concurrent sentence for possessing a prohibited image.

Fitton also ordered issued an indefinite sexual harm prevention order for Morse.

As part of the order, Morse will be unable to:

• Contact the victim;

• Live in the same house as a child under 16 unless approved by social services;

• Have unsupervised contact with a child under 16;

• Download file cleaning software;

• Use a device that can store images unless he allows it to be inspected;

• Use an incognito browser;

• Use aliases;

• Delete his internet history.