January 2023

Bensham salesman started ‘grooming’ 13-year-old who answered door to him

A salesman started “grooming” a 13-year-old girl after she answered her grandma’s door to him.

Scott Hill was wearing a Utilita uniform and inquring about gas when he happened upon the child, who he didn’t know and who was wearing her school uniform.

After a brief chat, he left but then contacted her on Facebook and turned the conversation sexual.

When the girl’s family found out, Hill, 25, of Fontwell Drive, Bensham, Gateshead, was arrested and found to be in possession of indecent images of children, which he had downloaded from the internet.

Now he has been spared jail after pleading guilty to inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, sexual communication with a child, making indecent images and possessing extreme pornography.

Rachel Glover, prosecuting, told Newcastle Crown Courtl: “(The girl) was at home when a salesman attended the address. This was the defendant, who was wearing a Utilita uniform.

“She answered the door in her school uniform and he asked about her school. After a short conversation, he left.

“Two days later he contacted her on Facebook. Within a week he attended her address a second time and on that occasion her grandmother answered the door. He also walked past her address more than once in the hope of gaining her attention.”

The messages Hill sent to the 13-year-old included references to sexual activity and he said “don’t get me wrong but I get the feeling you’ve got something of a wild side”.

When she told him she was going to a gay pride event and said she was bisexual, he replied: “Nice, as long as you like what I’ve got” then referred to his penis and sex.

He went on to ask what she did at weekends and suggested making plans to meet. He also said they would have a “cheeky neck on” (kiss) if he attended her home again. Other messages on Snapchat were not recovered.

The girl’s gran became aware of the communication and contacted Hill on Facebook. He claimed she told him she was 17 and deleted her when he found out she was younger.

In a victim impact statement, the teenager said: “I was only 13 when this happened. I’d never heard of grooming and didn’t know about that kind of behaviour.

“When he first knocked on my door and started messaging me I was so innocent I thought he was just being nice to me. He knew I was still at school.

“I told my friend who helped me report it. Once my family knew it caused a lot of upset to everyone.

“I now understand what he was doing was was very wrong. He was an adult in his 20s

“As this happened to me at such a young age it’s really impacted on my life. I struggle to start a relationship with a boy because I don’t trust anyone anymore.

When police examined his devices they found indecent images of children he had downloaded from the internet, including 15 of the most serious type.

There was also an extreme pornography video showing a teenager engaged in sexual activity with a dog.

Judge Julie Clemitson sentenced Hill to a three-year community order and he must sign the sex offenders register for seven years.