Sentence for man guilty of grooming

Oxford Crown Court
Oxford Crown Court

A 21-year-old man from Chipping Norton has been given an 18-month community order after being found guilty of grooming a 13-year-old girl.

At Oxford Crown Court last Friday, Luke Southam, of Cornish Road, was ordered to attend an education and training programme.

He had previously been found guilty of meeting a female under the age of 16 following sexual grooming. Southam met up with the girl in March last year.

The court heard how he came into contact with her on Facebook on March 9, 2013 and the pair sent messages to each other before Southam asked if she wanted to meet up.

Walton Hornsby, prosecuting, said: “The pair kept sending each other text messages and when Southam asked to meet up, she said ‘why would you want to meet up with a 13-year-old?’.

“She agreed to meet up with him two days later on March 11 and said she would meet him at Banbury Railway Station in her school clothes. Southam asked her to bring a change of clothes so she could dress in ‘something sexy’ for him.”

The pair walked around Banbury town centre before Southam kissed her on the lips.

Terence Woods, defending, said: “He accepts that he will be required to attend a programme to help direct him in the correct way, which will provide him with the necessary direction and support.

“His mental age is not that far off from the age of the young girl that he came into contact with.” Passing sentence, judge Thomas Corrie said: “You are a young man of 21 who groomed a vulnerable girl of 13 and a set of text messages you exchanged with her had sexual suggestions which led you to meeting her.

“I accept you did not intend it and because of your IQ measuring low, you may not have appreciated the danger which you posed, but the affect it has had on the girl who thought herself in love has caused her significant distress.”

Southam was given a Sex Offenders Prevention Order for five years, ordered not to contact anybody under the age of 16 by text or over the internet and was placed on the Sex Offenders Register for five years.