Paedophile used social media to lure Northamptonshire girl to hotel for sex

Craig Harrison has been handed a seven year sentence after he was found guilty of grooming an underage girl.
Craig Harrison has been handed a seven year sentence after he was found guilty of grooming an underage girl.

A sex offender who wrote “daddy needs a baby girl” on his social media profile was handed a seven-year prison sentence today after meeting up with an underage girl for sex in Northamptonshire.

Craig Harrison, 42, was found guilty at the conclusion of a trial on August 27 of two counts of sexual activity with a child and one of meeting a girl after grooming her.

Sentencing him at Northampton Crown Court yesterday, Recorder Kevin Hegarty QC, said Harrison, of Mansfield Woodhouse, Nottinghamshire, first met the girl on the internet and used a “significant degree of planning and interacting” to lure the girl to a Northamptonshire hotel on April 18 this year.

On numerous occasions he asked her to send him private photographs and regularly sent her messages to her mobile phone - once when she was at school, the court heard.

After arranging to meet at the hotel, he plied the girl with alcohol and drugs before carrying out sex acts with her.

Recorder Hegarty QC said: “You used alcohol and an unknown substance to dis-inhibit her and make your objectives easier to achieve.

“Before the 18th of April this year there was repeated contact with her designed to encourage a sexual encounter.”

Harrison was given an overall sentence of seven years for the three counts, half of which he will serve in prison and half on licence.

However after reading a risk assessment of the danger Harrison could pose to the public, recorder Hegarty QC felt the defendant did not pose enough of a predatory risk to warrant having to sign a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for life.

Mitigating for Harrison, James Bide-Thomas, said: “This is not a case where the defendant initially approached the girl.

“He put a profile up on the internet and the girl contacted him.”

Detective Richard Tompkins, who leads the team dedicated to reducing incidents of sexual exploitation, (RISE) said: “This case highlights our commitment to tackling the sexual exploitation of children.

“I hope the substantial sentence Harrison received today helps serve as a deterrent to offenders and those considering sexual offending against vulnerable children.

“This sentiment is shared by the whole of the multi-agency RISE team, who work together under the same roof to tackle and prevent CSE.”