Hartlepool man jailed for grooming girl, 14
- 11 October 2013
- From the section Tees
A man who groomed a 14-year-old girl and had sex with her in a tent on a beach has been jailed.
Sean Clode befriended the teenager while playing games online and she travelled from her home in northern Scotland to meet him.
The 21-year-old, of Glamis Walk, Hartlepool denied sexual grooming, child abduction and sexual activity with a child, but was found guilty.
He was sentenced to a six-year term by the judge at Teesside Crown Court.
Clode was also subjected to a Sexual Offences Prevention Order, and must sign the sex offenders register.
The trial heard that the girl told her parents she was going to school but instead met up with Clode and spent 20 hours in a tent on dunes at Crimdon Dene.
Her disappearance sparked a "frantic search" by her father, who drove through the night to search for her.
The tent was later spotted by the crew of a police helicopter.
Judge Howard Crowson said that his plan for the pair to meet up caused "unimaginable anxiety" for her parents.
"That she was a willing participant in these activities is no mitigation," he said.
"Her life and outlook have been completely distorted by you.
"You are a selfish man interested only in your own sexual desires."
Det Con Chris Bryan of Cleveland Police, said: "Parents should view this case as a warning to check who their children are speaking to, not only on social networking sites but also over live chat when playing on games consoles.
"Sexual predators will use any opportunity possible to groom victims."