Scarborough man jailed for grooming vulnerable teen

A man who pestered an under-age girl for sex has been jailed for 15 months after a judge condemned his behaviour as 'appalling'.

Wednesday, 21st February 2018, 7:52 am
Updated Wednesday, 21st February 2018, 7:55 am
Lee Traquair-Hull

Lee Traquair-Hull, 34, from Scarborough, bombarded the youngster with text messages and even told her he wanted to meet up for sex while she was in hospital.

York Crown Court heard that the “vulnerable” girl rejected Traquair-Hull’s advances, but still, he continued to pester her.

In one message, he told her he wanted to meet “only for an hour” and said he wanted to take her virginity.

Prosecutor Chris Brooke said Traquair-Hull was arrested after the girl told a nurse that an older man had been sending her sexually-charged text messages.

Traquair-Hull, of Mill Lane, near Seamer Road, was hauled in for questioning but denied any wrongdoing.

He was due to face trial in January after initially pleading not guilty to inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

But he admitted the offence on the day of trial - on the basis that he initially thought she was over the age of consent - and appeared for sentence on Tuesday.

Mr Dunne said Traquair-Hull began grooming the teen in 2016 after a “chance encounter” at a bus stop.

He asked her to call his mobile number under the pretence that his phone wasn’t working.

Once he had her number, he began sending her “numerous” texts saying how attractive she was and “asking her if she was a virgin and if he could have sex with her”, added the barrister.

“She said (the defendant) sent her really creepy messages,” said Mr Dunn. “He asked for her age and she told him.”

The girl texted Traquair-Hull to tell him about her hospital admission, but he simply bragged that he had a new car, adding: “I’ll come and pick you up. We’ll only go out for an hour.”

Traquair-Hull, who is unemployed, claimed he only discovered the girl’s real age about a month after they first met, yet he continued to pester her for sex over a six-day period.

Following his arrest, police found a number of “concerning images” on his mobile.

The court heard he had previous convictions for violence, drink-related public disorder and acquisitive crime. In 2014, he was slapped with a restraining order for assaulting his ex-partner.

Defence barrister Taryn Turner conceded that Traquair-Hull had an “unattractive” record but said this was his first-ever sex-related conviction.

She added that he had been prescribed anti-psychotic medication for mental-health issues and had a drinking problem.

Judge Paul Batty QC slammed Traquair-Hull for his “deeply-unpleasant” behaviour which he said was effectively the “grooming” of a child who “had her own problems at the time”.

“You attempted to persuade a vulnerable, under-age girl to leave hospital to have her virginity taken by a man,” added Mr Batty.

“You knew that this was no fantasy; this was a reality that you were wanting to progress for your own sexual gratification.”

Mr Batty said it appeared that Traquair-Hull had “little or no moral compass in your life.”

As well as the 15-month jail sentence, Traquair-Hull was ordered to sign on the sex-offenders’ register for 10 years and made subject to a 10-year sexual-harm prevention order.

Speaking after the sentencing DC Jon Kenworthy, of North Yorkshire Police’s Serious Crime Team, said: “The sentence given to Traquair-Hull today shows the seriousness of his offending.

"Children should be able to enjoy their teenage years without fear of predatory advances from anyone intending to exploit them, and victims can be reassured that they will be treated sensitively, and offenders dealt with robustly.

"I thank the victim for her courage in coming forward and remaining strong throughout the investigation to seek justice.”