July 2019

Jail for abuser who targeted 13-year-old girl for sex

A teenager has been jailed for grooming a 13-year-old girl on social media and having sex with her in a park in Barnstaple.

Matthew Medland went on to try and force an adult woman to have sex with him by threatening to post a naked video of her on the internet.

He was about to turn 19 when he had manipulated and groomed the girl

He started exchanging messages on social media with her when she was just 12 but she was 13 by the time he persuaded her to have sex with him.

Medland sent messages telling her he loved her and saying he wanted her to have his baby when she turned 14. He got her to send naked selfies on her phone.

Her mother became suspicious about the relationship when she overheard his voice on the phone and realised he was much older than her daughter.

The girl became upset when her mother questioned her about it and ran off in tears to her grandmother’s house, where she disclosed the truth and the police were called.

Medland was released under investigation by the police while his phone was sent for forensic examination and he went on to commit the second offence seven months later.

He obtained a video clip of a 19-year-old girl which he sent to one friend before telling her he would post it online unless she had sex with him. She said no and called the police.

Medland, aged 19, of St Brannocks Road, Ilfracombe, admitted sexual activity with a child, sexual communication with a child, making indecent images of a child, and sending an electronic communication with the intention of causing distress.

A more serious count of blackmail was dropped by the prosecution.

He was jailed for three years and six months by Judge Timothy Rose at Exeter Crown Court. He was put on the sex offenders’ register and made subject of the Sexual Harm Prevention Order which bans future contact with under age girls and allows he police to monitor his internet activity.

The judge told him: ”You were in a chat group with people much younger than yourself and made contact with the victim when she was 12. You knew her age perfectly well because she told you about her 13 birthday.

“You should have had no contact whatsoever. It was wholly inappropriate with an age gap of six years, which is an important gap at that time of life.

“There is no doubt you embarked on the process of inveigling yourself into her affections to pursue sexual contact with her. You were insistent and persuasive and there was an element of grooming.

“It was extremely harmful behaviour. She was your victim. She was in no way an equal participant, which you seem to have thought she was.”

The judge said Medland’s behaviour towards the second victim was ‘quite despicable’

Miss Mary McCarthy, prosecuting, said Medland started chatting to the girl online when she was 12 and started meeting her when she was 13, culminating in them having sex in a park in Barnstaple in September of last year.

He went on to ask her to have his children and go her to send naked pictures of herself. When he realised her mother had found out, he told her ‘delete everything’.

In April of this year a woman of his own age went to the police because he was threatening to release a naked video of her onto the internet. He had already shared it with a friend and said he would make it available publicly unless she had sex with him.