Sex offender described as 'a danger to girls' caught in police trap
SEX offender Michael Horn has been jailed after he sexually assaulted a schoolgirl after grooming her on an internet chat room.
The 20-year-old defendant pretended to be aged 16 to get to know his 15-year-old victim on the website for under 18s, Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard yesterday.
Prosecutor Patrick Sullivan said Horn suggested he and the girl meet, and on September 17 last year he took a train to Sheffield.
The girl took Horn to her home as other members of her family were there.
However, when her sister and her boyfriend left to find her mum, Horn sexually assaulted the schoolgirl.
And as the girl walked with him to the bus stop, he pulled her into a wooded area and told her he wanted sex. He only stopped when disturbed by passers-by.
The court heard that the girl returned home in a distressed state, and her ordeal has had a traumatic effect.
In a bid to snare Horn, police drew up a false profile of a 13-year-old girl. And he fell into the trap by suggesting they should meet.
Mr Sullivan said: "The undercover officer emphasised she was only 13. He said it did not matter. They arranged to meet in Hanley on May 10. He turned up to meet his intended victim. Instead, he was arrested."
The court was told that on October 26 last year, Horn, who was barred from Hanley Library for inappropriate behaviour, was seen performing a sex act while using a computer.
Horn, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to meeting a child following sexual grooming, attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming, sexual assault and outraging public decency.
Catherine O'Reilly, mitigating, conceded the pre-sentence and psychiatric reports raise alarm bells in terms of the potential future risk to young females.
She said Horn finds it difficult to form relationships with people his own age, but the defendant, who has no previous convictions, accepts what he did was wrong and added he wants intervention.
Judge Robert Trevor-Jones sentenced Horn to two years and three months detention.
The defendant will be on the sex offenders' register for 10 years, and was made the subject of a sexual offences prevention order for the same period.
And he was barred from working with children indefinitely.
Judge Trevor-Jones told Horn: "You logged on to that internet chat room which was only available to people under 18. You claimed to be 16 and, with your deceit, you contacted the 15-year-old girl.
"You maintained regular, if not daily contact. That grooming process led to you travelling to Sheffield.
"Such was her sister's concern, she went to get her mother and you sexually assaulted the girl.
"I do regard you as a serious danger to young females.
"You persisted in attempts to contact girls in a predatory way.
"You exhibited a very manipulative series of acts to try and continue with your offending."