Man jailed for grooming girl on internet

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A man convinced a 13-year-old girl to pose nude over the internet for three years by topping up her mobile phone credit, a court heard today.

Andrew Sunman, 30, groomed the teenager in an MSN chatroom by pretending to be 19. In reality he was 26.

The paedophile also paid the "vulnerable" victim £5 if she posed topless on her webcam, £10 if she was naked and £20 if she touched herself.

The Lancashire teenager, who Sunman got to pose in her school uniform, spiralled into depression and has struggled to overcome the trauma.

The defendant regularly phoned the schoolgirl to talk dirty to her while pleasuring himself, Preston Crown Court heard.

Today, he was jailed for 20 months after admitting nine counts of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

He also admitted possessing 27 indecent images of children - one at the worst level - and possessing other extremely indecent pornographic images.

Police caught him in February 2009 after the victim's boyfriend discovered what had been happening.

The girl, now 17, told her mother who complained to the police.

Three years earlier, Sunman, of Aberdeen Street, Hull, began grooming the girl by signing into MSN under the name "Dominant Eyes 69".

Soon after claiming he was only 19 Sunman confessed he was really 26 and asked the girl for pictures of herself in school uniform.

Hilary Banks, prosecuting, said: "In addition, throughout that period there had been texts between them and she explained there were dirty phone calls.

"Most of the time it was when she was in bed and she could hear him playing with himself and saying 'What are you wearing?'.

"She said that she could hear him panting.

"He was telling her stories about what he would like to do to her."

The victim tried to ignore the calls but Sunman was so persistent she lied about having problems with her phone and no credit.

Mrs Banks said: "The defendant then suggested he would top up her phone with his credit or debit card.

"The girl said 'He said if I took off my top he would give me £5. He told me if I took off all my clothes he would give me a tenner and if I touched myself he would give me £20'."

The girl also sent him pictures of her vagina and breasts.

"He told her that she looked really good and sexy in her uniform," said Mrs Banks. "And he would ask her to pull up her clothes."

The youngster said in a victim impact statement that she "felt like a prostitute doing sexual acts for credit".

She felt she had no one to speak to after splitting up with her boyfriend and was prescribed anti-depressants when her abuse came to light.

"The long-lasting effects will be with me indefinitely," she wrote.

Sunman, classed by a probation officer as at a high risk of reoffending, was arrested on 26 February last year.

When detectives knocked on his door he pretended to be shocked and confused.

But he later admitted everything to police.

He was classed by his own barrister, Nadine Hope, as "isolated and socially inept" with an "inability to communicate with adults".

But the court heard the stock controller had an English degree from York St John University and had enjoyed at least three relationships.

Judge Christopher Cornwall said he showed "profoundly corrupting behaviour".

Saying that Sunman's "wellbeing" was not the concern of the court, he rejected a defence plea for a community punishment.

He said: "You gave her to believe that you cared about her in the true sense of the word.

"She has blamed herself for your misbehaviour and questioned her own morals.

"She is not to blame and not at fault.

"She was 13, you were in your late 20s, twice her age.

"You have undermined her trust in men in general and for boys of her age and that of itself causes her significant difficulty.

"Your degree of culpability is simply 100 per cent.

"You have cast a very dark shadow over her early adolescence.

"You have taken a dreadful risk with the life of another member of the community by doing as you did."

Sunman was ordered to sign the sex offenders register for 10 years, given a Sexual Offences Prevention Order for 10 years banning him from contact with girls under 16, and disqualified from working with children.

Speaking outside court, the girl's father said: "We're pleased he has gone to jail and very relieved it is over.

"Knowing he is behind bars will be some weight off her mind.

"It has been very traumatic and she is doing well at the moment but of course some days are harder than others for her."