A MAN who groomed a young girl after meeting her outside a youth club has been jailed. 

Jacob Mallett, from Hurworth, near Darlington, met the young teenager when he was 20 and took her for drives in his car after youth club on an evening. 

The victim, who spoke out some years later and brought him to justice, was praised by police for her strength and courage. 

The relationship between the pair lasted for about 18 months and progresses to kissing and sexual activity. 

Mallet’s offending came to light several years later when the girl told a trusted adult about what had happened to her. 

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A police investigation was launched by Durham Police and Mallett, who is now 28, was charged with eight counts of sexual activity with a child. 

Mallett, of Hawkswood, Hurworth, denied the offences, saying he believed the girl was 16 at the time. 

However, a jury at Teesside Crown Court found him guilty of all offences and he was jailed for five years.

He was also made subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for ten years. 

Detective Constable Helen Hudson, from Darlington Safeguarding Team, said: “Mallett exploited the young girl’s vulnerability and took away her innocence for his own personal gratification. 

“She has shown immense strength and courage in coming forward and facing Mallett, who forced her to relive her ordeal during a crown court trial. 

“I hope that she can begin to rebuild her life now that Mallett is behind bars.” 

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Durham Police has urged victims of sexual abuse to come forward and report it by calling 101, or 999 in an emergency.

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