December 2019

Mum of abused teenager celebrates paedophile plumber prison sentence after ’21 months of hell’

A mum has spoken out on her “21 months of hell” after her daughter was groomed and abused by a paedophile plumber.

Nathan Richards, 30, of Hedon, was sentenced to three years in prison for sexually abusing a teenage girl.

“Manipulative” Richards pleaded guilty two counts of sexual activity with a child under the age of 16 and was put behind bars on Monday, December 9.

As well as the sentence, of which he will serve half of in custody, and half on licence, Richards has been ordered to sign the Sex Offenders Register indefinitely and has been made subject to a restraining order against his young victim for five years.

The victim’s mother told how the family were made aware of his sickening crimes on February 6, 2018 – a date she says she will never forget – when his angry girlfriend banged on their door telling them what had happened after finding messages on his phone.

The girl – who is now in her late teens – was “naive for her age” and her mum added that “the impact on her is clear for everyone that knows her to see.”

The mum – who cannot be named for legal reasons – told how her family’s lives had been turned upside down by the revelation Richards had abused her daughter.

She said that after 21 months of hell, she was finally able to watch her daughter’s abuser jailed at Hull Crown Court on Monday.

She said: “I’m still in shock. I was so scared he would just get a slap on the wrist. The probation officer in the pre-sentence report said he was not remorseful but he had written a letter to the judge.

I’m just relieved it’s all over. The main thing is that we can see the justice system does work. After 21 months I thought it was going to fail my daughter. It was a very long time to sit and wonder what happened.”

The woman said the effects of the ordeal on her family have been “ridiculously hard.”

She said Richards had taken advantage over a period of five months when he began “grooming” the young girl with messages saying he “loved her.”

She said: “She was at her most vulnerable. It started on Snapchat and he was telling her she was beautiful and that he had feelings for her and was there if she needed to talk. He kept telling her he loved her and she was his girlfriend. It was grooming behaviour when he was in a position of trust.”

Things then took an even more sinister turn when Richards kissed her daughter before twice having sexual intercourse with her when she was just 15. He was 28 at the time.

“He kissed her and she said, ‘That’s wrong'”, the mum continued, “It led on and he kept messaging her. He was manipulative.”

“He stated in court that it was like having an affair, but it was just unfortunate she was underage. He told her not to say anything to anyone.”

The family only found out about the horrific abuse when the man’s girlfriend knocked on their door and told them about messages she found on his phone to the young girl.

The woman said: “It was February 6. I will never forget that day. I was so shocked and numb – I still am.”