Swindon man is jailed for sex grooming of girl, 13
8:50am Wednesday 18th September 2013 in Latest News
A FATHER-of-four who groomed and sexually abused a friend’s vulnerable 13-year-old daughter has been jailed for three years and nine months.
James Whelan treated the young girl ‘like a princess’, buying her gifts and taking her out on trips before molesting her.
The 39-year-old, who knew the teenager had been the victim of abuse in the past, also sent her indecent pictures of himself during two years of offending.
He even told the child that he loved her and that when the time was right he would leave his partner so they could be together.
As a result she referred to their relationship as ‘an affair’ believing his lies until the police became involved after a friend saw a vile image of the defendant on her mobile phone.
When the girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, told of what had happened to her she was branded a liar by the defendant.
Whelan, who worked for Kwik Fit, used to take the teenager out in his work van as well.
Tessa Hingston, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court he was a family friend and had known the victim since she was a baby.
She said: “There came a point when she was 13 when she says they became closer. She saw more of him, going to his address and going out with him in his work as a Kwik Fit employee.
“She was vulnerable as she had been abused by another man when she was about 11 years old.
“She told the officer when interviewed that she had not intended to do anything. To use her sad phrase: She ‘got used to it’.
“She said he was kind, taking her on trips. She said they became close and ‘clicked’.”
The abuse started with them kissing and moved on to him touching her and getting her to perform sex acts on him.
Miss Hingston said: “She said he treated her like a princess. He told her that when the time was right he would leave his partner for her.”
In her police interview the girl said: “He said he would do anything for me but that was all lies.”
She said after he found out she had told someone else he called her a ‘whore and a slag’. She added: “His partner said I had forced him to do it.”
When the defendant was questioned by the police he made ‘derogatory comments’ about the girl and when he was shown the image and texts he still said she was making it all up.
She said he lied to the probation service who compiled a report after he had admitted the acts.
“He first tried to suggest he was not guilty and then tried to put some sort of blame on the victim,” Miss Hingston said.
Whelan, of Shalbourne Close, Penhill, pleaded guilty to two ‘multi-incident’ counts of sexual activity with a child.
Rob Ross, defending, said: “James Whelan presents as a weak man. Emotional issues in his own life were happening at the time that this behaviour began.”
He urged the court not to jail him saying he could get treatment for his problems in society.
Recorder Jonathan Fuller QC told him: “Your approach was to treat her with kindness which was the grooming of this child.
“You were described by Mr Ross as a weak man. I do not accept that. You were a devious and predatory man who groomed this child for your own gratification.”
Whelan will also have to sign the sex offenders register for life.