A police force gave a Northampton paedophile a caution five years ago because the “complexity and length” of the enquiries into the offence meant the victim did not support a court prosecution, a spokesman said.
The Chronicle & Echo reported this week on the case of Lee Murray, aged 41, of High Street, Weston Favell, who avoided court prosecution in 2011 after he was found to have engaged in sexual activity with a young teenage girl on three occasions after meeting her online.
Priyi Bakshi, prosecuting, said Murray had paid for the girl’s taxi fares to and from his address.
After being given the caution, Murray was given a sexual harm prevention order in 2014, which had a number of conditions including a ban on him deleting his internet history or from contacting girls under the age of 18.
Northampton Crown Court heard on Tuesday Murray contacted a 14-year-old girl after she put an advert online on the Gumtree website appealing for baby-sitting jobs.
Murray then sent the girl a number of text messages of a sexual nature. He later pleaded guilty to breaching the terms of his sexual harm prevention order.
Judge Michael Fowler said he was “very surprised” that Murray had been given a caution by the police in 2011 after he admitted having sexual activity with a child.
Judge Fowler sentenced Murray to a three-year community order, including the completion of the sex offenders rehabilitation programme.
A spokesperson from Thames Valley Police said a lengthy investigation was carried out to identify and arrest Lee Murray.
The spokesman said: “Evidence was secured which connected him with the offence.
“Due to the complexity and length of the enquiries to identify Murray, the victim no longer wished to support the investigation.
“Murray was cautioned in March 2011 with the offence of sexual activity with a female under the age of 16 and had to sign the sex offenders register for a two-year period.
“Thames Valley Police is committed to taking all reports of sexual offences seriously to ensure that victims are safeguarded and offenders prosecuted.
“We continue to build strong relationships with our communities and partners in order to treat those who report sexual offences with sensitivity and compassion and provide them with specialist support.”