March 2022

Sexual predator groomed teenage ‘friend’ by buying her McDonald’s

A Beverley man sexually preyed on a vulnerable teenage girl he had become friends with and groomed her by taking her out on drives and buying her McDonald’s.

Then 20-year-old James Sole met the young girl through mutual friends. She was then groomed by Sole into engaging in sexual activity, including kissing and inappropriate touching, Hull Crown Court heard.

He would take her on drives and buy her food, alcohol and cigarettes, the court heard.

Sole, now 23 and of High Street, Stoke-on-Trent, admitted inciting the girl to engage in sexual activity between May 2018 and March 2019 at Hull Crown Court.

Prosecutor Charlotte Baines told the court Sole met the victim through a friend of his, he learned she had been suffering from mental health issues and offered to speak to her, having experienced the same issues himself.

The two became closer after going out in a group, but soon began to separate from the others as Sole would take her out on drives and buy her McDonald’s.

In December 2018, the court heard the two were intoxicated at the victim’s house when Sole kissed her and put his hands down her trousers. The victim said she had no recollection of it and only came to know about it when the defendant told her the next day.

On another occasion, the victim told Sole she had kissed another boy, to which he replied ‘he would kill himself if they broke up’. She messaged him asking if he was alive and he replied ‘barely’, the court heard.

In January 2019, in the victim’s room, Sole asked the victim to close her eyes and used her hand to rub his penis. The victim’s mother called out to her up the stairs, making him stop, the court heard.

After seeing that they were getting closer, the victim’s mother warned Sole that she would call the police if their relationship had been inappropriate. The defendant told her he thought of the victim as ‘his little sister’, Ms Baines told the court.

In March 2019, a family member saw evidence that the pair’s relationship had indeed been intimate and the victim’s mother reported Sole to the authorities.

In a statement read in court, the victim said she had been groomed by Sole while she was in a vulnerable state of mind.

“I could not have male or female friends after this, I felt like they wanted something from me. It made me question my sexuality as well,” she said.

“I stopped talking about my mental health, I was suffering and did not know how bad it could get.

“I was suicidal and had to be taken to the A&E. I suffered from panic attacks and was scared to fall asleep at night, causing me to have insomnia.

“I have so much anger towards him.”

Judge Bury sentenced James Sole to 18 months in prison.