Jail for man who groomed and raped girl

12/12/2016

A man has been sentenced to 15 years in jail at Lewes Crown Court, after being found guilty of raping a girl he had been grooming for the previous five years.

Shaun Harrad was convicted of two counts of rape and one charge each of ABH, distributing indecent photos of a child and putting a person in fear of violence by stalking.

The court heard how Harrad started to groom the girl when she was just 13 years old, after the victim started to talk online to someone she believed to be a teenage boy. It was in fact Harrad, who was then aged 47.

After gaining her confidence, Harrad asked the girl to send him photos, which gradually became more explicit. When she then tried to cut off contact with him, Harrad threatened to send the photos to her family and friends and would contact the victim at home or where she worked.

Eventually, Harrad contacted the victim, admitting who he was and sending her a picture of himself. He told her he had enough compromising photos of the victim to destroy her life and went on to make threats against her family and friends.

Even once the victim broke off all contact, Harrad bombarded her with threatening emails, phoned her parents and took photos of the victim's house and garden. He told her he was watching her and warned her to be careful in the dark, suggesting he might be behind her at any time.

Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS South East Jaswant Narwal said: "This is an extremely disturbing case and shows how sexual predators like Harrad can easily gain the confidence of their victims. He put this girl in a position where she became too scared to refuse any of his requests because of the threats he made.

"She felt forced into pretending she was in a relationship with Harrad and only had sex with him because, in her words, she was too afraid of what he would do to her otherwise. This is not consent. She was simply too frightened of what Harrad would do if she refused. However, the victim took the bold and brave step of reporting what had happened to her and now her tormentor has been brought to justice."

The CPS launched its #ConsentIs campaign social media campaign in September 2015 to highlight what consent is in relation to sexual assault and rape. More information about the #ConsentIs campaign is available on the CPS website.