A TWISTED child groomer who told at 15-year-old girl he seduced online that he was “too pretty” to go to prison has been jailed for four years.
Ryan Kirk (25), of St Andrews Close, Sunnyside, was sentenced to one year for each of four sex offences after admitting three counts of sexual activity with a child and being convicted of grooming.
Sheffield Crown Court heard last month that Kirk, who was 22 at the time of his offending, told the girl he was 19 after befriending her on Facebook.
He told his victim that if she spoke to the police and he went to prison then he could not “make it up to her” for lying about his age and that, if jailed, he could not be there for his son.
Det Con Lee Corker said Kirk groomed the girl and coercing her into sexual activity with him for his “own perverse gains”.
Kirk pressurised the girl into having sex and would drive her to secluded locations in his car, the court heard.
Det Con Corker added: “He begged her to not say what had really happened, claiming he was too pretty to go prison and telling her what she should say, then checking in with her again after she had spoken to police.
“Kirk didn't even have the decency to save her the horrific ordeal of a trial, making her endure the majority of it until he decided to change his plea at the last minute.”
Recorder Tahir Khan QC, who sentenced Kirk via a video link between the crown courts in Bradford and Sheffield, made it clear he was sentencing the defendant on the basis that the complainant, who cannot be identified, was “consenting” to the sexual activity.
He said the girl had given “a watered down” account of the relationship to the police in 2015 and added: “The evidence was very clear in the trial that you’d exerted a degree of emotional pressure on her not to tell the whole truth.”
The judge said he accepted that Kirk was now remorseful for his offending and noted that he had had the benefit of reading a detailed expert’s report which dealt with the issue of autism and the difficulties the defendant had with social interaction.
“It seems to me there is mitigation in this aspect of your personality,” said Recorder Khan.
“I'm therefore prepared to proceed on the basis that you did not prey on (the complainant), a 15-year-old girl, in order to manipulate her and I also accept what Miss (Rebecca) Young (Kirk’s solicitor) says about the disparity in age not being for sexual gratification.
“The expert evidence makes it fairly clear that you do struggle with relationships with people of your own age and I also accept that you had genuine feelings for (the complainant).
“It may well be that you also lacked sufficient insight into how serious it was, and is, to engage in underage sexual relations.”
Miss Young said Kirk was socially inept and uncomfortable in social situations and suggested that was why he contacted the complainant via Facebook.
Kirk, who will serve half of the four-year jail term, must now register as a sex offender with the police for the rest of his life.