October 2005

Married man was ‘grooming’ 14-year-old

A MARRIED man admitted developing an “inappropriate” relationship with a 14-year-old girl, a court heard.

John Savage was arrested after meeting the girl in a shopping centre car park, after increasingly flirtatious messages were exchanged between the pair.

Durham Crown Court heard that Savage, now 37, began texting the girl, calling her his “sex bomb”, within weeks of meeting her, while doing DIY work for her mother, in August last year.

Ros Scott Bell, prosecuting, said they met six times in a car park near his work and her school.

Savage told her that if she was older he would leave his wife and run away with her, and said they could have sex when she was 16.

He used a second SIM card on his mobile phone so his wife would not discover texts to the girl. When his wife did find a message from the girl, Savage burned the card, said Ms Scott Bell.

Savage, of Edward Street, Stanley, County Durham, admitted meeting a girl following sexual grooming.

Jim Withyman, mitigating, said: “He accepts these messages were totally inappropriate. He accepts that eventually it might have led to a sexual relationship.

“Things were clearly heading to a wholly inappropriate relationship with this girl.”

Savage, a motoring company tele-sales worker, was given a three-year community rehabilitation order, during which he must participate in a sex offenders’ programme.

He was ordered to pay £1,062 costs and must sign the sex offenders’ register for five years.