A man who groomed a 15-year-old boy on a dating website and engaged in sexual activity with him is beginning a seven-year sentence in prison.
Harold Charlton, 35, of Knaton Road, Carlton in Lindrick pleaded guilty at Chester Crown Court on Thursday 3 May to two counts of sexual activity with a child, one count of sexual communication with a child, meeting a child following sexual grooming and possession of indecent photographs of a child.
The court heard how Charlton began grooming his victim after they started talking on a dating site in November 2017. The victim said he was 15-years-old and Charlton continued speaking to him before turning the conversation sexual and enticing the boy to ‘trade’ indecent images of themselves.
Charlton then travelled from his home in South Yorkshire to Chester after arranging to meet with the victim inside a pub. The pair then left the pub and sat in Charlton’s car where they engaged in two counts of sexual activity.
Charlton continued to speak to the 15-year-old over social media before his mum found out and stopped them being in contact.
A few months later the victim was reported missing to Cheshire Police and his mum showed officers indecent images and conversations on his phone from Charlton. Charlton was interviewed under caution before he was arrested.
The court was told how during Charlton’s interview he admitted to sending sexually explicit messages to the victim.
Detective Constable Peta Ticer, of Chester CID, said: "Charlton knew how old his victim was yet he continued to send him sexually explicit messages and groom him in order to meet and engage in sexual activity.
“His selfish, disgraceful actions have had a damaging impact on the victim’s mental and physical health and he has shown no understanding or remorse for this.
“The victim has shown great courage in being able to talk to officers about Charlton’s crimes and helped put him behind bars, preventing him from grooming and abusing other children.
"I only hope his sentence and the knowledge that he is no longer a danger to other vulnerable young children goes some way in helping the victim through his recovery.”