Hartlepool man to be jailed over schoolgirl sex

Guilty: Sean Clode

Guilty: Sean Clode

First published in News
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The Northern Echo: Photograph of the Author by

A MAN is facing jail for grooming a schoolgirl on the internet before persuading her to travel hundreds of miles to meet him for sex.

Sean Clode, from Hartlepool, was today (Friday, September 27) found guilty of a string of serious charges after a four-day trial at Teesside Crown Court.

The 21-year-old will be sentenced next month after background reports have been prepared on him by officials from the Probation Service.

He was tonight spending his first spell behind bars after being remanded in custody until his next appearance on October 11.

Judge Howard Crowson told him: "The type of sentence you will receive is inevitable, it is simply a question of the length of it."

Clode took the run-away 14-year-old to secluded sand dunes on the outskirts of Hartlepool and spent the night with her in a tent.

She had skipped school and taken a train from her home in Scotland to see the man she had met through an interactive on-line game.

The pair were found after a police search involving a helicopter, and the girl's father who drove through the night to look for her.

Unemployed Clode denied he had hatched a plan with the youngster to meet, and said he was shocked when she turned up in his home town.

He also denied having sex with her and claimed any transfer of bodily fluids must have happened when he was asleep in the tent.

The girl initially told police that there had been sexual contact, but later changed her story and said Clode was unaware of what she did.

The court heard that the pair had communicated almost every day for nine months after meeting through the Xbox Live game Call of Duty.

Clode, of Glamis Walk, Hartepool, denied telling the schoolgirl he loved her and insisted there had never been any sexual chat The jury of eight men and four women took a little over an hour yesterday afternoon to reject his denials and unbelievable account.

He was found guilty of meeting a child after sexual grooming, abducting a child and two charges of sexual activity with a child.

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