Predator jailed for grooming girl

A divorced father-of-four who had sex with a 13-year-old girl he groomed over the internet has been warned he might spend his life behind bars.

Steven Carver was given an indeterminate prison sentence for public protection by a judge at Bradford Crown Court with a minimum term of three-and-a-half years.

But he was told by Recorder Ben Nolan QC that it would then be up to the Parole Board to decide if he still posed a risk to children when it considered whether he should be released.

The court was told that Carver, of Ashton House, Croscombe Walk, Little Horton, Bradford, was given a six-month probation order for having sex with a 14-year-old babysitter in 1988.

Yesterday the 46-year-old was locked up after he admitted grooming the 13-year-old for sex last year.

The court heard that Carver’s relationship with the girl, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, came to light last December.

Prosecutor Giles Bridge described how Carver and the girl communicated over the internet and exchanged mobile phone texts.

Carver had sex with the girl at his flat and on another occasion he incited the teenager to engage in sexual activity with him. Mr Bridge revealed that in a victim impact statement from the girl she described how she had self-harmed using a razor blade and was undergoing counselling. Mr Bridge said Carver’s activities had caused “grave distress” to the girl’s family.

Carver, who will have to register as a sex offender with the police for life following his eventual release from custody, pleaded guilty to charges of meeting a child after sexual grooming and sexual activity with a child.

Recorder Nolan said he was satisfied that Carver had made a significant attempt to groom the youngster in order to win her friendship and obtain her trust and misguided affection.

“There are a large number of text and MSN messages in this case which make it perfectly clear that you targeted that child for sexual purposes,” said Recorder Nolan.

“That child was but 13 years of age. These are specified serious offences and you have a conviction for a specified offence in 1988.”

Recorder Nolan read extracts from Carver’s pre-sentence report in which the author concluded that he had expressed no real insight or remorse for what he had done.

The report indicated that Carver struggled to understand that he had done anything morally wrong and stated that he loved the girl.

Carver’s barrister John Harrison described his client as a lonely and inadequate man and he conceded that the pre-sentence report made grim reading. He said Carver had been “flattered” by the girl’s attention, but now wished he could turn the clock back.

“He’s always known these matters were serious and he’s always known it was going to be custody,” said Mr Harrison.

“The minimum term before being considered for release by the Parole Board is one of three-and-a-half years,” Recorder Nolan told Carver.

“I make it clear to you that that term may not equate to your release date. The Parole Board will have to consider whether or not you are a danger to children before releasing you and if they consider, as well they might, you are still a potential sexual predator you will remain in custody. That’s their decision not mine.” After the case Detective Constable Neil Sharpe, of West Yorkshire Police child protection unit, who led the investigation, said: “This has been a traumatic and unforgivable experience for the young victim and family in this case. The outcome will now allow the family to move forward.”

The girl’s family were delighted with the court’s decision, and praised the police’s handling of the case.

“It’s absolutely fantastic. At first we though it was going the wrong way, but when we heard the verdict we were really, really pleased,” a family spokesman said. “He’s a nasty man. They said he was a lonely man, but that doesn’t give him the right to do what he did.”

Published in: on December 1, 2007 at 6:07 pm  Leave a Comment  

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