A 29-year-old Weymouth man who groomed and then molested a 15-year-old girl has been jailed for 13 months.
Christopher Barrow, pictured, travelled to meet the child after booking them into a hotel for New Year’s Eve after making contact online.
But when one of her concerned friends told an older sister what was going on the police were brought in and he was arrested at The Angel Hotel in Chippenham.
Colin Meeke, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court on Tuesday that the child was still 14 years old when she put a message on social media site Kik last year.
“She put out a general invitation for people to talk to her and he answered that invitation. They seem to have got on well,” he said.
Although the girl made it clear from the outset that she was 14, and he said he was a pub manager aged 28 or 29, the correspondence soon took a sexual tone.
In a game of truth or dare they asked each a series of questions starting with her wanting to know if he would cuddle her.
He said he would and then asked if she were over 16 if she would have sex with him.
“It is clear at all times he knew she was under the age of 16. There was an arrangement to meet on or about her 15th birthday in July last year.”
Mr Meeke said that had not taken place because her parents had other plans but in September and October she and Barrow hatched the plan for New Year’s Eve.
He booked a room at the hotel and she met him at the train station on December 31, having told her family she would be staying with friends that night.
During the messaging she had told him she wanted to wait until she was 16 to lose her virginity, but after kissing and cuddling in the room he sexually touched her.
Mr Meeke said after meeting up with him some of her friends, who knew what was going on, tried to text her but got no reply.
After she eventually replied to the texts they went to find her, as they were concerned for her safety, and one of the friends then mentioned it to her older sister.
A policeman was at the reception the next day when Barrow walked past and when asked if he knew the girl’s age he answered ‘no comment’, and was promptly arrested.
Barrow, of Reedling Close, Weymouth, pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual activity with a child.
Mike Jeary, defending, said his client had been honest about what he did with the police and was willing to go on the Thames Valley Sex Offenders course.
He said he was a well educated man but had drifted from job to job and had plainly groomed the girl before meeting her.
Jailing him Judge Tim Mousley QC said: “I am satisfied there was a degree of grooming towards her and it only came to an end when a friend’s older sister contacted the police.”
He jailed him for 12 months for the sex offences with a month added on for failing to surrender to custody last week.
He also imposed a sexual offences prevention order restricting his liberty and told him he must register as a sex offender for ten years.