A Wisbech man who groomed a young girl on phone messenger apps has been sentenced to 40 months in prison.
Eugene Ayres, 61, of Rowan Close, Wisbech, was jailed at Cambridge Crown Court today (9 March) and also given a sexual harm prevention order (SHPO) and placed on the Sex Offenders Register indefinitely.
Ayres, who was in a position of trust, contacted the schoolgirl on New Year’s Day 2016 through a messaging app and struck up a friendship with her, gaining her trust and grooming her.
The girl’s mother found the messages and banned them from contacting each other. However, they started messaging each other again shortly after using fake names.
Ayres then began sending suggestive and sexually explicit content, before arranging to meet the girl to engage in sexual activity.
The girl disclosed the assault to a teacher and Ayres later handed himself in at a police station. He pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to two counts of sexual activity with a child.
DC Julie Ellison said: “The victim showed incredible bravery in speaking to police after this experience.
“Ayres knew how young his victim was and deliberately took advantage of her vulnerability for his own sexual gain.
“The majority of people use messenger apps to keep in contact with their friends and family but for some it can be used as a tool to groom children and young people.
“We take all reports of abuse seriously and have a dedicated team of experienced officers to respond. We would actively encourage anyone affected to contact us.”