Sex predator 'groomed' 14-year-old girl

A SEX predator is facing a jail term for grooming a young girl after he met her on an internet website designed for vulnerable people.

A SEX predator is facing a jail term for grooming a young girl after he met her on an internet website designed for vulnerable people.

Maidstone Crown Court was told that Kevin King, 22, of Tayfen Road, Bury St Edmunds, met the 14-year-old on a website used by victims of abuse or self-harmers.

King, who had a previous conviction for downloading child sex abuse images, pretended to be a “sympathetic confidante” who his victim could talk to and trust.

But he later told her he had fallen for her, saying he tried not to let it happen because she was only 14, but adding he could not resist her, the court heard.

He then started meeting the girl on a beach at Folkestone in Kent. However, the court was told that on one occasion the girl's stepfather went along instead, found King there and photographed him.

At court King pleaded not guilty to meeting a child following sexual grooming but he was convicted by a jury.

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Sentencing has been adjourned until December 19 and he was granted bail until then. However, Judge David Griffith-Jones told him: “You should be under no illusions as to the likely sentence.”

The court heard that King met the girl on the website Recover Your Life and continued to contact her through instant messaging, webcam and mobile phone.

Hanna Llewellyn-Waters, prosecuting, said King manipulated the girl, who was vulnerable and receptive to his charms.

“He tried to present to her as a friendly and approachable grown-up,” she said. “He chose to adopt a grooming approach designed to flatter her and encourage her affections.”

The ruse was discovered when the girl's stepfather became concerned about messages she was receiving. One said her sexy smile made him want her even more, another that he loved her. He also told her he was “not a perv”, although she was “cute for her age”.

The court was told that, after becoming concerned, the stepfather monitored her use of the family computer and saw a photo of King wearing a bus driver's shirt. He had told her he was a bus driver.

King was even said to have told the teenager he was worried the law would regard him as grooming her for sexual activity. “He was testing her reaction for sex,” said the prosecutor. “He was testing the water with her.”

When arrested, King replied: “Fair enough.” He denied wanting sex with her.

Miss Llewellyn-Waters told the jury King was convicted in January 2005 of possessing indecent images of children at Loughborough magistrates and on that occasion was sentenced to four months youth custody.

It was revealed after the verdict that King also had convictions for indecent exposure and harassment and threats to kill an ex-girlfriend.

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