Man jailed for grooming teenager

Nicholas Collins, from Leyland
Nicholas Collins, from Leyland

A music fan groomed a teenage girl he met at a concert by buying her train tickets and booking a hotel where they spent the night together.

Nicholas Collins, 23, of Moss Lane, Leyland, has been jailed for 21 months after admitting sexual activity and grooming the youngster.

The pair met at a concert by rock band Lost Prophets.

After exchanging phone numbers, Collins and the youngster kept in touch through Facebook, text messages and phone calls.

When the band announced a concert at 53 Degrees in Preston last year, Collins arranged train tickets to the city for the youngster and booked a room at the city’s Travelodge for one adult and one child.

Peter Barr, prosecuting, said the girl told her mother she was to stay with friends in the Midlands but a friend spotted an exchange between the pair. She told her mum and the police were called.

Collins was arrested and admitted spending the night with the youngster.

However while he was on bail the pair kept in contact and they went on to meet in Liverpool and spent another night together.

The court heard Collins had previously been given a police caution relating to a sexual relationship with a 14-year-old when he was 18 years old.

Richard English, defending, said: “It is clear these two were very fond of each other.

“This is a young girl who her mother describes as sensible and level headed. They came to enjoy some music.

“What took place the law condemns but it was with her consent. This wasn’t a manipulative seduction. This wasn’t preying on the vulnerable or grooming the vulnerable.

“It was a wholly affectionate relationship.”

Recorder William Smith, sentencing, said: “It is right to say the sexual activity that took place took place shortly before her 16th birthday.

“Had it been committed a few months later there would have been no offence at all. I take that into account but there is a line that the law requires to be drawn.

“You stepped over that line, and knowingly stepped over that line, which is drawn to protect young girls.”

He jailed Collins for 21 months, ordered him to sign on the sex offenders’ register for 10 years and made him the subject of a five-year Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO).