A YOUNG man who sexually assaulted a girl he knew was only 14 after arranging to meet her ‘away from prying eyes’ has been jailed.
Paul Bishop had pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to meeting a child following grooming and sexually assaulting her, after initially indicating he would deny the charges.
The 22 year-old who lives on a narrow boat moored on the Grand Union Canal at Long Itchington, was jailed for 20 months and ordered to register as a sex offender for ten years.
Recorder Anthony Potter also imposed a restraining order banning him from contacting the girl for five years and a sexual harm prevention order restricting his contact with any child under 16 for ten years.
Prosecutor Matthew Barnes said that last year a 14 year-old girl received a Facebook ‘friend request’ from Bishop.
She accepted, and they began to exchange messages, having told each other their correct ages, through Facebook and Snapchat, and by sending each-other texts from their phones.
They quickly became ‘flirty’ and he suggested they meet up even though he knew she was under 16.
The girl, who also lived in the mid-Warwickshire area, agreed – and on the first two occasions they met, they just chatted and parted with a hug, ‘but nothing sexual.’
But at their third meeting, which took place in a secluded field near her home, Bishop tried to kiss her, but after she pushed him away he sexually assaulted her.
Mr Barnes said it was some time later the girl confided in her grandmother about what had happened, as a result of which the police were contacted.
Officers saw a number of the messages which had passed between them, including Bishop telling her he wanted to have sex with her.
When he was arrested Bishop told ‘a series of lies’ about the girl having initiated contact and being unaware of her age, and said he could not remember sending any messages about sex, but that if he did, it was probably because he was drunk.
Henry Skudra, defending, said Bishop, who had no previous convictions, worked as a fabricator and welder, and had the support of his family.
Recorder Potter told Bishop: “I have to sentence you for your actions in grooming her over the course of a couple of months and then meeting up with her on some three occasions, on each occasion at a secluded place of your choosing, and on the last occasion sexually assaulting her.
“It is quite clear your actions were not in the least bit impulsive, but involved planning by you, and you put pressure on her to conceal the communications between you from others.”