A MAN who formed a relationship with a woman after meeting on an internet dating site soon began to show an unhealthy interest in her daughter, a court heard.

David Kendrick, from Gravesend in Kent, moved in with the County Durham woman in late September last year.

But, Durham Crown Court was told it is now suspected his prime “motivation” was to gain access to children.

The court heard within a short time he would engage in live TikTok sessions with one of the woman’s daughters, as they both lay on a bed.

Jolyon Perks, prosecuting, said he would buy the girl alcohol, at times her mother was not present, when he would sexually touch the girl.

He also bought the girl hot pants, age-inappropriate pants and bra set and silk pyjamas.

Following a trip to a coastal holiday park the girl complained to her mother she was sick of being touched by people and did not want hugs.

Coupled with concern about comments on social media as well as the unusual interest he was showing in her daughter, the mother applied for a criminal background check on Kendrick, who was asked to leave her home in early December last year.

Mr Perks said Kendrick tried to re-establish contact with the girl through third parties and on TikTok, while sending her mother a message describing her as, “a liar, a rat and a bitch”.

Such was Kendrick’s haste in leaving, however, that he left behind a mobile phone on which he recorded himself bouncing the woman’s younger daughter off his crotch area while she was wearing her school PE kit.

Further analysis of its contents revealed indecent images of children in each of the three categories of severity, all downloaded last year.

Kendrick was interviewed three times about the allegations in March this year and denied any wrong doing.

He denied five counts of sexual assault on a child under 13 and three of making indecent images of a child.

Two days before his scheduled trial in October, the 40-year-old defendant changed his pleas and admitted the offences.

His record was said to include 16 convictions for 38 offences

The court heard of the problems his offending has caused for the family, who have since redecorated their home to try to wipe out the memory of Kendrick’s “stay”, while the mother of the girls said she felt he undermined her relationship with her children.

Lewis Kerr, mitigating, said Kendrick’s pre-sentence probation report makes it clear he now fully accepts his responsibility for his behaviour, and there has been no back-tracking or under-playing of his offending.

He accepts his “risks” of reoffending need to be addressed.

Mr Kerr said the defendant underwent a “disruptive lifestyle” in his younger days and was living in a bedsit in Kent before his move to the North East.

Imposing a 38-month prison sentence, Judge Ray Singh told Kendrick: “I’m afraid you have a deviant and unhealthy sexual interest in children which will need to be carefully addressed.

“You were allowed into the family home by trust and you abused that trust.”

The judge also made Kendrick subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and notification requirements as a sex offender, both indefinitely.

Durham Police Safeguarding Detective, Kat Pudney, who led the investigation said: “Firstly, I would like to acknowledge the victim’s bravery for standing up and speaking up against her abuser.

“I hope she has given others who may be suffering or have suffered sexual abuse the courage to come forward.

“Kendrick is a dangerous predator who took advantage of his social media status to facilitate access to his victim who he then proceeded to groom and abuse.

“He posed a serious risk to children and therefore his conviction and custodial sentence is crucial in preventing him from offending further.

“No sentence will ever truly reflect the damage and hurt caused however I hope that the brave victim now has a degree of closure and is able to move on with her life.”

Anyone who is subject to abuse should call police on 101, or if you are in immediate danger always call 999.

For those who do not wish to speak directly to police, then they should contact the Meadows Sexual Assault Referral Centre on 03333 448283.

If anyone has concerns surrounding a partner, or partner of a close friend/family, more information about them is available under Clare’s Law.

This scheme allows anyone who wants to find out if someone they are in a relationship with poses a risk.

A Clare’s law application can be made via local police stations, or via 101.

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