Colne man pursued schoolgirl on Facebook

First published in North West

A 25-YEAR-OLD man tried to ‘seduce’ a schoolgirl after pursuing her on Facebook.

Neil Hurley committed indecent acts on the 14-year-old and the pair almost had sex at his home whilst his partner, the mother of his child, was at work, but they were disturbed by her returning home.

Hurley, of North Street, Colne, now a 27-year-old father of two, admitted three counts of sexual activity with a child.

He received three years probation supervision, with the community sex offenders’ programme and must pay £250 costs.

Hurley, who had no previous convictions, was also ordered to sign the sex offenders' register for five years and was given a 10-year sexual offences prevention order.

Rachel Wood, prosecuting, said the girl posted a comment on her Facebook page, inviting people to respond if they fancied her, and the defendant sent her a personal message.

In January 2011, Hurley, then 25, contacted the girl again using the chat facility, so they could talk directly over the internet. He said he thought she was attractive and asked her if she thought he was.

Miss Wood said Hurley got the girl's mobile phone number from Facebook, began texting her and pursued her. The pair also exchanged sexual images of each other.

The pair met nine or 10 times and Hurley fondled her and committed a sex act. On occasions, the girl had decided she wanted to stop seeing the defendant, but he persuaded her to carry on.

Miss Wood said in September last year, the teenager went to Hurley's home whilst his partner was at work and the girl later told police she knew they would do more than they had ever done before.

She said he had told her he loved her and wanted to show her how much. He was disturbed by his partner returning home and banging on the door to be let in the house.

The schoolgirl ran away and was reported missing but was later found and told police what had happened with Hurley.

The court heard the defendant was arrested on September 28 and other than confirming his telephone number, made no comment.

Joanna Rodikis, for Hurley, said he had genuine affection for the girl. He had been with his partner six years, they would say the experience had brought them closer together. They now had a baby son.

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