A Lea man who used Facebook to groom a schoolgirl so he could have sex with her has been jailed.Advertisement
Alan Mitchell, 22, of Nelson Crescent, threatened to burn down his victim’s home if she told anyone about their relationship.
He pleaded not guilty to eight counts of sexual activity with a child and stood trial at Preston Crown Court.
The court heard how Mitchell had first met his 14-year-old victim in 2015.
He began spending time with her family and he encouraged her to set up a secret Facebook page so he could get in touch with her.
During the following months he encouraged her to have sex with him several times.
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In December 2015 his victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told her mother what had been happening and a police investigation was launched.
Mitchell will serve six and a half years in prison and is subject to a lifetime Sexual Harm Prevention Order with conditions.
DC Jane Gregson, of Preston Police, said: “Mitchell was in a position of trust with his victim’s family, which he exploited in the most awful way. Throughout police interviews he then lied and denied any wrongdoing, forcing the victim and her family to go through the further ordeal of a trial.
“Thankfully the jury saw through his lies and he is now facing a significant stretch behind bars.
“The victim has shown incredible courage throughout the investigation and subsequent trial and I hope the sentence gives her some closure, and that she is able to put this behind her and move forward.”