April 2005

Jailed for sex with girl, 14

A JUDGE branded a Barry man “every parent’s nightmare” before jailing him for four years for sex offences against a 14-year-old girl.

Roger Vernon Popp, aged 50, admitted meeting a girl after sexual grooming over the internet, two counts of sexual activity with a child, and two counts of possessing pornographic images of children on his computer.

Popp, who was 60,000 in debt, resigned as a health and safety adviser with the Vale of Glamorgan Council last April after child porn was found on his work computer.

Mold Crown Court heard that he then bombarded the teenager with more than 1,100 mobile phone calls and texts within eight weeks, then drove to Wrexham to meet with her.

He told her he had fallen in love with her and they had sex in his car.

His crimes were discovered when a school friend of the girl told an educational social worker what was happening.

Police were tipped off and they were able to prevent a meeting at a cinema in Chester between the two. By then, the court heard, Popp had already travelled to see her five times and they had already had sex.

Popp, originally from Barry, was living in a hotel in Cardiff when he was arrested.

He first came to the attention of the police when the Vale council found its entire computer network was being infected by his computer. Only he had access to the computer and his own password, but an examination revealed 11 pornographic images stored on it.

He resigned, and six weeks later North Wales Police were alerted to his meetings with the girl, whom he had met through a speed-dating service on the internet, which he accessed through his mobile phone.

When arrested he initially claimed the relationship was platonic.

Maria Massellis, defending, said Popp was now separated from his wife and daughter, and was ashamed and full of remorse.

She said the offences had occurred during a time of depression and financial pressure.

But Judge Stephen Clarke told Popp: “You are unable to come to terms with the fact that you are behaving like a paedophile.

He added that children are still children at 14, and the law is there to protect them.

Judge Clarke jailed Popp for four years, and extended his licence period on release by two years to further protect the public.

He also ordered Popp to register as a sex offender for life, and made a sexual prevention order limiting his contact with children and banning future use of cyber cafes and downloading any indecent material.