Man, 52, sentenced for child grooming offences
- Credit: ARCHANT
A 52-year-old man from West Yorkshire has been given a suspended prison sentence for grooming offences against a teenage girl from north Suffolk.
Robert Binns, of Bolton Road, Bradford, appeared at Ipswich Crown Court on December 7, where he was sentenced to eight months' imprisonment for each offence to run concurrently, suspended for two years.
He is also subject to a 10-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order, a restraining order until further notice and 10-year notification requirements. He was also ordered to sign the Sex Offenders' Register for 10 years.
Police launched an investigation after concerns were raised by teachers that the girl was having an inappropriate online relationship with an older man.
Suffolk Police's Cybercrime Team discovered that Binns had been sending inappropriate and sexual messages to her on social media and had spoken via video messaging. The investigation also found that he had travelled to Suffolk and met her on four occasions in early 2018.
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Binns was arrested in May of this year and in interview admitted to engaging in sexual communications with the victim and to meeting up with her.
He had pleaded guilty at a previous crown court appearance on November 14 to two counts of engaging in sexual communication with a child, occurring between September 2017 and May 2018.
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Engaging in sexual communication with a child is a relatively new offence and Binns was the first person to be convicted of it in Suffolk.
Charlotte Driver, Suffolk Police's cybercrime supervisor, said: 'Robert Binns, like many paedophiles, did not think there was anything inappropriate in his relationship with a teenage girl under 16.
'He believed he was her online protector and that through their messages and conversations he could help her as she approached the age of sexual responsibility.
'There is absolutely nothing appropriate about a man aged over 50 sending sexual and flirtatious messages to a young girl more than 30 years his junior, as well as buying presents for her.
'Binns knew the age of his victim as they had spoken via video messaging and despite this he still travelled down to Suffolk to meet her.
'This behaviour is classed as grooming and it often develops into more serious offences. It is fortunate in this case that we were notified and were able to identify Binns before the victim came to any more harm.'