Former leader of Northamptonshire scout group jailed for grooming and sexually assaulting boy in Sussex

James Jones
James Jones

The former leader of a Northamptonshire scout group has been jailed for grooming and sexually assaulting a boy in Sussex.

James Jones, 39, was leader of a Scout troop in Northamptonshire until September 2015.

The Sussex case is not connected in any way to his previous Scouting role in Northamptonshire.

"The Scout Association is aware of recent court proceedings involving James Jones," said a spokesman for the association.

"Jones was suspended from his role in scouting in 2014. He has not been a member of the movement since September 2015.

"The Scout Association carries out stringent vetting of all adults who work with young people and requires them to work to a strict code of practice outlined in the Young People First code of practice."

Jones was sentenced to four years in prison after a six-day trial at Lewes Crown Court. He was charged with engaging in sexual communication with a child and sexual assault of a child under 13. He had denied the offences.

He initially communicated with the victim via social media and they met several times between March 2017 and June 2017.

Their social media exchanges continued – mostly via Snapchat so all communication was deleted and could not be traced – with much of the content of a sexual nature.

On April 29, 2017 – Jones who was working as an amusement arcade employee, of Lismore Park in Slough, Berkshire – visited Crawley and stayed at a hotel with the intention of meeting the victim the following morning.

The pair met and walked along a street together before Jones pulled the child through a hedgerow to a secluded area and sexually assaulted him.

The victim managed to run free and get away, and Jones continued to contact him thereafter, apologising for his actions. He also offered to buy him presents to make it up to him and to prevent him from telling his parents.

On June 21, 2017, the victim was at home when a member of his family noticed he was looking at his phone, which he was prohibited from doing past a certain hour.

He saw messages on phone from the defendant, which were of a sexual nature, and these included a number of code words and symbols.

At this point, the victim disclosed to his parents what had happened.

Enquiries continued and Jones was arrested at his place of work on July 5, 2017.

After denying the offences, Jones was found guilty after a six-day trial at Lewes Crown Court, which concluded on February 26.

He was bailed to return to the same court on March 28, where he was sentenced to four years in prison.

He was placed on the sex offenders register for life and a sexual harm prevention order was imposed when he is released with conditions.

Investigating officer, detective constable Adam Tidy, said: “Jones denied the allegations put to him throughout, claiming that at no point was his contact with the victim – either in person or via social media – of a sexual nature.

“However, the evidence we collated proved otherwise, and justice has been served.

“While the victim and his family were caused a huge amount of distress by this ordeal, I hope Jones’ conviction will be welcome by them.

“I would also like to praise the courage of this young man and two other children who also gave evidence in court – their bravery has helped to bring this offender to justice.”