Online dating addict Philip Scaife groomed schoolgirl, 13

First published in News
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by , Court reporter

A FARM labourer “addicted” to online dating has been jailed for two years and eight months for sexually abusing a 13-year-old girl.

Philip Andrew Scaife, 30, treated the child the same as the adult women he met through an internet dating site, despite knowing that she was a schoolgirl who lived with her parents, York Crown Court heard.

Paul Cleasby, prosecuting, said the farm labourer tried to set up a sexual encounter with the girl.

The pair exchanged 654 text messages, almost all of them sexually explicit, from March 1 last year until the girl stopped answering in mid-April. During the exchanges, she sent him indecent photographs and videos of herself and he suggested acts she could perform on camera.

The Recorder of York, Judge Stephen Ashurst told Scaife: “It is plain you revelled in that relationship online.”

He said: “You went into this relationship, I believe, with open eyes. You now, I am afraid, must bear the consequences.

Scaife, of Sheriff Hutton, pleaded guilty to one charge of grooming a child for sex, two of inciting a child to commit sexual acts and five of possessing indecent images of a child.

He was jailed, put on the sex offenders’ register and banned from working with children or having unsupervised contact with children, and his internet use was restricted, all for life.

Mr Cleasby said the girl put a profile of herself on an internet dating site claiming she was 18, but by the time they started the text messages, Scaife was “well aware” of her real age.

He tried to “engineer her departure” from her parents so they could meet.

For Scaife, Stephen Grattage said he was a hard worker who was not interested in children sexually and suffered from depression.

He had become “addicted” to meeting would-be sex partners through online dating and had treated the girl the same way as he treated adult women.

Scaife believed that had they met, he would have not had sexual relationships with the girl.

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