March 2021

Predator took 13-year-old to Blackburn hotel for sex

A sex predator who lured a 13-year-old girl to a hotel for sex has been jailed in his absence after he fled the country to return to India.

Venkat Rakesh Annapureddy was an IT student at UCLan in Preston when he struck-up an online friendship with the teen before arranging to take her to a hotel in Blackburn.

However the 25-year-old was stopped in his tracks when the hotel’s owner became suspicious of the pair – coming up with a plan to stall them while he secretly called the police.

Annapureddy pleaded not guilty to one count of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and a second of arranging or facilitating the commission of a child sexual offence and was sent on bail to crown court for trial.

But the student fled back to his home country in May 2020, meaning the decision was made for the trial and consequent sentence hearing to take place in his absence.

Jailing the paedophile for five years at Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court, Recorder Mark Ainsworth described how the pair had met on a dating website where she revealed her real age to Annapureddy, who became aware the victim had just turned 13 and yet continued to pursue her.

Mr Recorder Ainsworth said: “Her evidence was clear – she was open with the defendant as to her age and told him how old she was.

“There was a conversation between them on Snapchat and we have much of that from the phones recovered by the police. What is clear is this is a highly sexualised conversation between a 25-year-old and 13-year-old. What is also clear is the defendant was aware she was under 16.”

Mr Recorder Ainsworth also said the police were called after Annapureddy turned up at a Blackburn hotel with the young girl, asking to rent a room for a couple of hours.

During a trial the jury heard evidence from the hotel’s owner, whose conduct was described by Mr Recorder Ainsworth during sentencing as ‘exemplary’.  

The judge added: “It is significant that the hotel’s owner said he thought the girl looked 14 and he asked for identification. When he asked for that ID the plan from the defendant was to cancel the room. However he then said he would take a deposit rather than see identification and the booking went ahead.

“The hotel owner, thinking quickly, came up with a way to delay the defendant and the girl at the premises while he called the police. He told them there was a room being vacated and that it would be ready very shortly after it had been cleaned. He invited them to wait in the dining room, which they did.

“Officers arrived within around 10 minutes and spoke to the defendant and he was later arrested. While being arrested he was apologising for his conduct and saying he wouldn’t do it again.”

He was jailed for five years in his absence and he was made the subject of an indefinite sexual harm prevention order.