Window fitter 'groomed' 12-year-old girl

A WINDOW fitter has been jailed for 18 months for sexually grooming a 12-year-old girl and possessing indecent images of children.

Russell Claydon

A WINDOW fitter has been jailed for 18 months for sexually grooming a 12-year-old girl and possessing indecent images of children.

Richard Clapson, of Stratford Road, Ipswich, was sentenced yesterday after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing.

A judge at Ipswich Crown Court was told how the 46-year-old defendant met the girl while out on a job in the Felixstowe area.

She asked for his mobile phone number and he began exchanging naked photos with her before on one occasion putting his hands down her trousers.

When police seized his personal computer Clapson - who works for a firm in Ipswich - was also found to have 30 images of child pornography on the hard drive, David Pickersgill, prosecuting said.

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Mr Pickersgill read out a statement to the court from the victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, which said on the second day of meeting her Clapson asked if he could take a picture of her on his phone with her top off, which she refused.

On a separate occasion he asked for pictures of her body which she supplied as she had been “scared he might come after her,” the judge heard.

In return, Clapson, who pleaded guilty to possessing indecent images and sexually grooming a young girl, had text back pictures of his penis.

Mr Pickersgill said on another occasion he had pulled down the girl's trousers and touched her vaginal area over her knickers.

Sentencing Clapson to an 18 month custodial term and a 10-year sexual offences prevention order, Judge Neil McKittrick said the girl had felt under pressure to comply with his “perverted requests” for his own gratification.

He said: “You were a man of good character, hard-working, providing for your family when you committed a number of offences in relation to children.

“One thing that you did was you downloaded a number of images of children which are illegal.

“Your job took you into other people's homes and you began to show a very unhealthy interest in this 12-year-old girl.”

“The sexual assault of this girl was indefensible,” he added. “You took advantage of a moment's lust to touch her in the vaginal area over her knickers.”

Judge McKittrick also ordered a six month imprisonment term for the indecent images to run concurrent with the 18 month sentence.

He said the computer must be confiscated permanently and all the material seized by the police must be destroyed.

Samantha Leigh, defending, said Clapson was of previous good character, that no violence had been used and that the touching episode had only occurred for a “very short period of time”.

She added that the number of images found had been small and that there was no intention of distributing them.