A LORRY driver jailed yesterday for grooming a 12-year-old girl on Facebook for sex was told by a judge: “You bear no remorse for what you did.”
Jason Robinson, 40, went to prison still protesting his innocence and leaving the girl and his elderly parents to bear the scars, a court heard.
The youngster was said to have believed the Facebook relationship was a loving one, but realised it was poisonous when she reached 15.
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Robinson had scared her by saying that if other people discovered their secret she would be looked upon as a prostitute.
He was locked up for 15 years and was banned from working with children and from unsupervised contact with under-18s for the rest of his life.
Judge Howard Crowson, sitting at Teesside Crown Court, told him: “It is clear to me that a prison sentence will be hard for you to bear.
“You bear no remorse... you continually deny you did any wrong, but your family and the victim will have to bear the effects of what you did.”
Robinson, of Auckland Way, Stockton, was found guilty after a trial of rape, eight charges of sexual activity with a child and one of sexual assault.
The case is yet another to highlight the need to protect people online, as called for by The Northern Echo’s Safety Net campaign.
The campaign was set up after the murder in October 2009 of Darlington College student Ashleigh Hall, 17, by a man she met on the internet.
It has already led to all overfives being taught online safety in school and many websites – including Facebook – installing a “panic button”.
Robinson’s victim was only 12 when the abuse began and he was in his mid-30s.
He went on to have sex with her for three years, the court heard.
She developed an eating disorder and, even when she plucked up the courage to go to the police, she still felt under a cloud of embarrassment.
By then, Robinson had corrupted her by grooming her for sexual purposes, said Judge Crowson, and she was forced to give evidence at his trial.
Adrian Dent, mitigating, said Robinson could not claim that he had shown any remorse because he continued to deny the offences.
He added: “One can only hope that the problems that the victim has experienced reach some form of respite and recovery in due course.”
Detective Constable Deborah Southall, from the Cleveland Police vulnerability unit, last night welcomed the outcome of the case.
She said: “It is due to the strength of the victim in coming forward and the support of the victim’s family that this man has come to justice.”