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South Woodham Ferrers RAF cadet sent sexual video to a young girl before molesting her
A sex offender who sent a video of himself masturbating to a young girl before later leading her into an orchard to molest her has been spared jail.
Ben Grimwood, 19, sent a series of sexually explicit messages to a 13-year-old girl over Facebook messenger while he was a sergeant with the RAF cadets.
He eventually lured the girl into a secluded area where he groped her and forced her to pleasure him with her hands.
The predator was apprehended after his victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was overheard confiding the horrific ordeal to a friend.
Grimwood, of Keats Square, South Woodham Ferrers, came before Chelmsford Crown Court to be sentenced for his vile actions today (Friday, September 15).
Prosecutor Marc Brown told the court how events unfolded from autumn of 2014, when a then 17-year-old Grimwood was a cadet in his home town.
He engaged his victim in conversation through Facebook which was initially not of a sexual nature.
But it was not long before Grimwood started asking explicit questions of the girl, asking her to “talk dirty”, to send pictures and to reveal her bra size.
The situation escalated in February 2015 when he sent his victim a video which showed him pleasuring himself.
The court heard that Grimwood knew exactly how old the girl was because he asked her, claiming he wanted to know their age gap.
He also asked whether she had ever watched pornography and about any sexual experiences she had.
“It’s clear he knows how old she is,” said Mr Brown.
“She is, to a degree, responding.
“Throughout these messages he makes various requests of her.”
In November 2015, Grimwood took the opportunity to take his crimes one step further by taking his victim to an orchard after he had attended a cadet meeting.
Describing the events of the evening, Mr Brown said: “He then takes her by the arm into the orchard and they begin to kiss.
“It was three weeks before his 18th birthday.
“She says he began touching her bottom, putting his hand inside her top.
“He then takes hold of her hands and put them down his trousers and made her masturbate him.
“The defendant says this took place over clothing.”
The matter was brought to the attention of police when a case worker from Essex Child Services received information from a person who overheard the girl recounting the assault to her friend.
Before mitigation was submitted for Grimwood, his victim had extracts of her impact statement read aloud.
She wrote: “I sleep for about half an hour at night.
“I get severe flashbacks about that night.
“I can’t get past what has happened to me.”
Grimwood, who pleaded guilty to two counts of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and one count of causing a child to watch someone engage in sexual activity, received 18 months imprisonment for each count, to run concurrently, suspended for 24 months.
He was ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work to “benefit the community” and to take part in 40 days of rehabilitative activity.
In addition, he will be subject to a three month curfew where he must remain at his parent’s home between the hours of 7pm and 6am.
As a result of his crimes, Grimwood will be on the Sex Offender Register for ten years.
Before releasing the sniffling sex offender, Judge Peters turned to the victim’s mother in the public gallery and said she in no way wanted to diminish what had happened but it was her duty to make sure Grimwood went on to become a productive member of society.