April 26, 2021 1.36 pm This story is over 15 months old

Married pensioner jailed after grooming and abusing 15-year-old girl

“That is not a relationship. That is abuse,” the judge said

A married pensioner who groomed and then sexually assaulted a vulnerable 15 year old girl has been jailed at Lincoln Crown Court on Monday.

Donald Arblaster, 71, sent flattering messages to the girl telling her she was beautiful and that in different circumstances they might have married.

Arblaster, who had been married for 52 years, went on to invite the girl to his holiday caravan at Ingoldmells where he sexually assaulted her.

Noel Philo, prosecuting, said the girl visited Arblaster’s caravan on consecutive days in May 2019 and on the second occasion what happened was interrupted when the victim’s mother phoned her to see where she was. As a result of what subsequently emerged the girl’s family contacted police.

Mr Philo said: “It is clear that the victim had the impression that whatever she was doing would result in her being in serious trouble as well as him.

“There is a huge disparity in age between them. He told her not to tell anyone and told her to delete messages.

“The Crown say that he was intending to do something more serious. We say that if he hadn’t been foiled he would have gone on to do something more serious.”

Arblaster, 71, of Glascote Road, Glascote, Tamworth, Staffs, admitted two charges of sexual assault on a girl aged 13 to 16 and a further charge of meeting a girl following grooming.

He was jailed for 28 months and placed on the sex offenders register for 10 years. He was also given a 10 year sexual harm prevention order.

Judge Catarina Sjolin Knight told him: “She is someone with vulnerabilities. It is clear you were messaging each other as if you were lovers. You were 69 at the time and she was 15. That is not a relationship. That is abuse.”

Mark Watson, in mitigation, said: “This is a person of previous good character. He takes full responsibility for what happened. He read things into an interaction which weren’t there and he got carried away with his own feelings. There is an enormous amount of disgrace and shame that he feels.”

He said Arblaster looks after his wife whose health is poor and also suffers from ill-health himself.