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Monday, 10 December 2018

Bridgend school worker jailed for grooming and sexually abusing teenage girl

Written by Adam Hale

A school information and communications technology (ICT) technician has been jailed for grooming and sexually abusing a 15-year-old girl.

Alex Barnes, 22, pleaded guilty to five counts of sexual activity with a child, three counts of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and one count of penetrative sexual activity with a child.

Cardiff Crown Court heard Barnes groomed the girl - who cannot be named - between February and March while he was employed as a school technician, before bullying her into having sex with him by by smacking her face and pulling her hair.

He was arrested following an investigation by officers from South Wales Police's specialist child abuse investigation unit covering Bridgend and the Vale of Glamorgan.

Barnes (pictured), from Bridgend, South Wales, was sentenced to five years in prison after he appeared in court on Monday.

Judge Daniel Williams also ordered him to sign the sex offenders register and made him the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

After the sentencing hearing, Detective Constable Phil Colston said: "Barnes was in a position of trust and abused that position to prey on a young girl. He now has to pay the price for his actions.

"The defendant was persistent and determined in his offending. This has been a very concerning investigation due to the speed of the grooming and controlled coercive behaviour.

"Today's result is a testament to the bravery of the victim who has not only shown considerable strength and courage to talk about the abuse she suffered but also throughout the lengthy and complex investigation and court process."

He added: "I hope today's sentencing gives her some comfort as she comes to terms with the abuse she suffered and attempts to rebuild her life.

"I also hope that it sends a message to anyone else who has suffered, or is currently suffering abuse, that they can come forward and any allegations will be taken seriously."

Sexual abuse can be reported via 101, or to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Copyright (c) Press Association Ltd. 2018, All Rights Reserved. Picture (c) South Wales Police / PA Wire.