AN Alnwick man has been jailed for grooming and sexual offences against a teenage girl.
Michael Saunders, of Windsor Gardens, was sentenced to two years in prison and also given a Sexual Offences Prevention Order and will have his details put on the sex offenders’ register.
The 22-year-old was sentenced today (Friday) at Newcastle Crown Court where he faced six charges.
He pleaded guilty to two charges of sexual activity with a child.
Saunders pleaded not guilty to two counts of rape, but the prosecution offered no evidence on either of these.
At a previous hearing, he pleaded guilty to another charge of sexual activity with a child and one of meeting a child following sexual grooming.
The court heard how Saunders had believed that the 14-year-old girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was aged 15, and that sexual activity had been consensual.
In sentence, Judge Michael Cartlidge said that while testimonials had described Saunders as ‘decent, honest and trustworthy’, there was another side to him which was not ‘trustworthy’.
After the case, DC Katie Anderson of Northumbria Police’s Rape Investigation Team, said: “This sentence shows the severity of Saunders’ actions and that this sort of behaviour is simply intolerable.
“It has been a very difficult time for the victim and her family and we hope today’s outcome allows them to move on with their lives.
“Victims of any sexual offences can often feel vulnerable or ashamed by what has happened to them.
“As difficult as it may be, we would stress to all victims to report any incidents to police. We are committed to giving victims all the support they need to bring those responsible to justice.”
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