Wednesday 28 September 2016

'Cold and calculated' paedophile groomed schoolgirl and took her to hotel for sex

Published 08/01/2016 | 13:03

Undated handout photo issued by Cleveland Police of Mark Cope,
Undated handout photo issued by Cleveland Police of Mark Cope,

A "cold and calculated" paedophile has been jailed after he groomed a schoolgirl online and took her to a hotel for sex.

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Mark Cope, 26, from Shirrall Grove, Birmingham, had targeted the "quiet, shy and naive" teenager from Teesside through conversations on the internet.

This eventually led him to catch a bus up to the North East, where he met the girl after school and took her to a hotel.

Teesside Crown Court heard after having sex with her twice, the police arrived at the scene where they found her in bed and arrested Cope.

Jailing him for seven years plus a further six on licence, Judge Simon Phillips QC read out a report describing him as "cold and calculated" and as a "meticulous planner with no social awareness or correct moral boundaries".

He said he had "no concept of the harm you have caused the victim or her family" and posed a "massive risk to your victim and anyone who stands in your way".

"Your persistent and very wrongful abuse of this child only ended when the police came to the hotel and arrested you," he said.

Prior to meeting her, Cope had told the girl they were boyfriend and girlfriend, that they would go away together on holiday and that he would knock out her father if he tried to stop them.

If she refused to do what he asked during their video conversations on Skype, he would get angry and tell her he would see other girls instead.

Judge Phillips said this campaign of grooming had begun while he lived with his partner in Wales and continued when he moved to live with his mother in Birmingham.

A statement from the girl's father described her as "quiet, shy and naive", not streetwise, and that the family "had been through hell".

He said "her trust and belief in adults has gone" and she is suffering from low self-esteem.

Cope had previously admitted two charges of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, one charge of abducting a child and two charges of sexual activity with a child.

He was also indefinitely banned from entering the boundaries of Teesside and from contacting the victim and placed on the sexual offenders register.

Press Association

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