Man who groomed Scunthorpe teenager over the internet jailed by judge at Grimsby Crown Court
A MAN groomed a Scunthorpe teenager over a social media website by claiming to be the same age as her.
But 40-year-old Paul Howells was living in Hampshire and arranged to meet the girl in her home town.
Grimsby Crown Court heard Howells moved to Grange Lane South in Scunthorpe once the relationship with the 13-year-old developed.
It only came to light when a relative of the girl, who was also sexually abusing the teenager, chased Howells from outside the girl's home.
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Howells admitted four offences of sexual intercourse with a 13-year-old girl over a period of eight months, during which he met the girl in his car and took her to a Premier Inn hotel and, latterly, to his home in Scunthorpe.
In her victim impact statement, which was read in court, the girl said she had difficulties sleeping and is scared of interacting with men.
The court heard she had also made threats of self-harm.
Sentencing Howells to four years and four months in prison, Judge David Tremberg said the teenager had confided in Howells and trusted him as they contacted one another on the internet.
He said: "You knew she was vulnerable.
"You met her and had sex with her.
"You contrived to create conditions in which you were to indulge your own sexual pleasures in your car, in the hotel room and at the dwelling in the Scunthorpe area."
He added: "This was a girl who should have been concentrating on her school work rather than you using her for your sexual pleasures.
"What you did to her was highly destabilising and likely to cause her serious harm in having the ability to trust men and form relationships."
He disqualified Howells from working with children for life and ordered him to be on the Sex Offenders' Register for life.
Prosecutor Alison Dorrell said the initial contact had been made on the internet, with Howells claiming to be the same age as the girl.
She said the relationship became a full sexual one and was consensual.
He moved to the area and got a house where they met, she told the court.
But she said the offence only came to light when a relative spotted Howells parked waiting to pick the girl up in his car.
The police were informed and it was revealed she had also been sexually abused by a relative.
The court heard the relative had later been locked up.
Paul Hodgkinson, in mitigation, said his client was ashamed of his actions and the shame he had brought to his family.
He said Howells' father suffers from asbestosis and is terminally ill and will not have his son near him for his last days.