Carl Hodgson, 27, took the year eight pupil to his quayside apartment after he met her on a dating app. Pictured: Hodgson outside Manchester Crown Court
An office worker who lost his job and home after he spent the night with a 12-year-old schoolgirl who pretended to be 19 has been jailed for two-and-a-half years.
Carl Hodgson, 27, brought the girl to his Manchester quayside apartment after he met her on a dating app – not realising she used a fake profile which claimed she was ‘experienced’.
He admitted to carrying out a sex act on the girl and took an explicit image of her in a body stocking, writing: ‘Mine was decent, nailed that bird, unreal bod.’
He was arrested a month later after the girl’s mother found her daughter had logged onto his home WiFi and told police.
He said he did not know the girl’s real age and that it was her who suggested they go back to his apartment.
The girl, who is known to regularly go missing from home, admitted posing as a 19-year-old and said Hogdson did not know her real age.
Hodgson admitted engaging in sexual activity with a child, making and distributing indecent images and was ordered to sign the Sex Offenders Register for life.
He was banned from contacting girls under 16 without permission of their parents for seven years, and disqualified from living and sleeping in same household as child under 16. His not guilty plea for rape was accepted.
Judge David Stockdale QC told Hodgson at Manchester Crown Court: ‘You have expressed regret and remorse of your actions and I consider your remorse and regret to be genuine.
‘Whilst she was 12 at the time of these events, you did not believe that to be the case.
‘You took the complainant to your flat and you in due course spent the night with her and caused her to pose indecently for your own gratification. You were to boast later that you had sexual activity though it is fact you had not.
Hodgson took the girl back to his apartment where they engaged in sexual activity
‘The complainant was by reason of her age highly vulnerable to exploitation and she was no doubt impressed by you.
‘This is most serious offending as you will now have appreciated. The effects on a child of such a young age of offending of this sort are well known and well documented, and these effects will last for the rest of the child victims life.
‘I noted in the victim personal statement of the mother which I have read, she speak of how her daughter is in a withdrawn state, her lack of cooperation and her silence. The statement from the social worker which I have read, speaks of the complainants guarded nature and her unwillingness to discuss events and her part in this case.
‘It’s inevitable, she will suffer in the long term as a result of your offending.’
The incident took place on February 23 last year when the pair started messaging on social media.
Prosecutor Justin Hayhoe said: ‘He says he met the her through a dating application and her personal profile was over the age of consent. It stated she was experienced and he regarded their meeting as a date.
‘At her suggestion they went back to his flat. They drank a single alcohol drink. He said they went into his bedroom, removed their clothing, she removed her own and she believed she was over 18.’
Hodgson carried out a sex act then took an indecent picture of the girl on his mobile phone and sent the image to a friend.
Mr Hayhoe added: ‘He didn’t believe he was talking to a child who was under 18. When they spent the night at his property, he believed she was over 18. But the complainant was 12 and the defendant was 27 at the time. The Crown say there was a significant difference between their two ages.
‘She presented herself on her social media profile as someone over the age of 16. She did say a meeting took place at the defendants flat and she maintained to the police that the defendant thought her age was 19 rather than 12.’
The pair had met on a popular dating app before talking on WhatsApp, the court heard.
Mr Hayhoe added that the mother would sleep downstairs to stop the girl leaving the home but noticed at around 8.30pm that her daughter had left.
He said: ‘Police officers attended his address and images were recovered in his mobile phone including a moving image of the complainant posing in a body stocking. He sent one image to his friend and a message stating: ‘mine was decent, nailed that bird, unreal bod’. He also said she was ‘filth’.
‘The girl declined to give details of what took place and hasn’t provided a victim impact statement. She remained in the property over night when she was vulnerable.
‘She told him she was 19 years of age rather than her true age and he reasonably believed the victim to be older than she was.’
A social worker said the girl was ‘very relucatant’ to talk about the incident and was ‘vulnerable at the time of the defence’.
Hodgson carried out a sex act then took an indecent picture of the girl on his mobile phone , which he sent to a friend
In mitigation, defence lawyer Alexander Leach said: ‘The defendant used a dating app, one which was used for adults designed for contact with other adults. It’s an extremely popular application widely used by various cross section of society.
‘She had the propensity and capacity of looking at herself as a 19 year old rather than a near 13 year old.
‘Carl Hodgson was not aware he was engaging in sexual activity with a child and he did not intend to engage in sexual activity with a child. He could not anticipate the vulnerability of the child or the disparity in age.
‘He must have known she was significant younger than him, but he believed her to be older than 16. If he had been aware, he would not have deemed it appropriate to take her to the apartment and provide her with alcoholic drinks.
‘He has lost his employment, his home and he has the stigma which comes with offending of this sort. H
‘There is no evidence this defendant sought out children for sexual gratification. It wasn’t his intention to commit the offence – it’s been a frightening experience for him.’