A Lincolnshire man has been been sentenced to three years in prison after admitting grooming and sexual offences against a 14-year-old girl.
Darren Hadman, 40, of Wetherby Close in Bourne, posed on an online chat site called Palringo as a 16-year-old boy from Lincolnshire called Tom in March 2013.
He befriended a 14-year-old schoolgirl, who police say innocently believed he was a genuine person around her age, and the pair initially started talking about hobbies.
Hadman continued talking to the victim and convinced her to send photographs of himself, starting off clothed and then progressing to indecent images. He also sent pornographic photographs of himself to her.
Hadman, who was employed as an aircraft technician, got the teenager to meet him in his car in a car park in the Sleaford area where he carried out an act of sexual touching on the young girl.
Courts heard he also sent her a message saying he wanted to meet up again so they could have sex. Over a period of time he managed to convince the victim that they were in a healthy, consensual relationship. He was arrested at his home address on April 4, 2013.
Hadman also used another site called KIK, which is a phone-based chat and photo app, to talk to other individuals believed to be paedophiles about the abuse of children.
At Lincoln Crown Court on March 9 Hadman pleaded guilty to the following:
Sexual touching of a female aged 14; meeting a child following sexual grooming; inciting a child aged 14 years to engage in sexual activity; distribution of indecent images of children; six counts of making of indecent images of children; and possession of 318 indecent images/videos of children.
He was sentenced on Friday, May 22 to three years and three months in prison.
Speaking at the culmination of the case Detective Constable Nicky Linn, of Lincolnshire Police’s Internet Child Abuse Team (iCAT), said: “Hadman’s offending is some of the most calculated and manipulative.
“By pretending to be a teenager similar in age to the victim and finding something in common, he established a trusting narrative that was difficult to break once he revealed his true identity. His intentions were never innocent and he knew exactly what he was doing.
“Hadman managed to convince an entirely blameless young girl that their relationship was not only consensual but normal and healthy.
“Over a period of time he groomed her and manipulated her, all for his own sexual gratification. I echo the sentencing judge’s comments when he said he had taken total advantage of a vulnerable 14-year-old girl.
“Hadman is a scheming predator, and I am happy with the sentence the judge has imposed , it means one less dangerous individual will be able to contact any potential victims using the internet.
“I would like to commend the bravery of the victim in this case. She has spent a long period of time going over what has happened to her, from first reporting it, throughout the investigation, and now seeing it out in court. Without her courage and determination we might never have got this conviction. I hope she is now able to start moving on with her life.”