A PAEDOPHILE has been jailed for 10 years for raping a 12-year-old girl he groomed on the internet.

John Astley, aged 34, of Wyndham Avenue, Daubhill, met his victim online in January, then, over the next few weeks, struck up a relationship with her and met her twice in Sunderland, Hove Crown Court was told.

On March 8 he travelled from Bolton to West Sussex and met the girl late at night.

He took her away from her home to a retail car park in Havant, Hampshire, where he raped her.

As he was driving her home, the family had just discovered she was missing and had called the police.

Astley was arrested nearby, and when police examined his mobile phone they found indecent images of the victim.

As well as his 10-year sentence, Astley was ordered to sign the sex offenders' register and was given an indefinite sexual offences prevention order restricting his access to children.

Det Con David Midgley said: "This was a particularly nasty case, with Astley taking advantage of a young, vulnerable girl.

"The sentence imposed reflects the tough stance the justice system takes against people who commit offences against those that are vulnerable.

"Even when Astley is released from prison, the sexual offences prevention order imposed by the court will ensure he remains closely supervised."

Astley pleaded guilty to rape on Monday. He also admitted causing a child to engage in pornography.