Man 'groomed 14-year-old girl and had sex in tent'

Sean Clode
Image caption Mr Clode and the girl played computer games together, it is claimed

A man groomed a 14-year-old girl online for months and then met her to have sex in a tent, a court has heard.

Teesside Crown Court was told Sean Clode, 21, persuaded the child to travel hundreds of miles from Scotland to meet on a beach near Hartlepool.

The pair were traced using the girl's mobile phone and found the next day by a police helicopter, the court heard.

Mr Clode, of Glamis Walk, Hartlepool, denies sexual grooming, child abduction and sexual activity with a child.

The prosecution said Mr Clode and the girl struck up a friendship while playing computer games on the internet.

On 24 May, the girl asked her mother if she could stay at a friend's house after school.

'Come home'

But instead, the jury was told she travelled by train to Hartlepool.

Matthew Bean, prosecuting, said her parents managed to contact her on her phone.

"She was asked to come home," Mr Bean said. "She simply said she would be home the following day."

The pair were found in the sand dunes the day after the girl went missing, jurors were told.

Mr Bean said: "The prosecution accepts that the girl willingly agreed to travel down to meet the defendant."

Mr Clode has denied having sex with her.

The girl later told police that they had sex several times.

But giving evidence via videolink, the girl said she had lied during the police interview and sex did not take place.

The trial continues.

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