A GRANDDAD who groomed a schoolgirl for sex has been put behind bars for six years.
Hartlepool pensioner Kenneth Bate, 68, was jailed for a string of offences he committed against a youngster over a two-year period.
He had denied them but was found guilty by a jury after a trial at Teesside Crown Court last month.
Bate groomed the girl starting with kissing.
The judge said they were “very serious” crimes and the public, especially young women, needed to be protected from people like him.
Bate was found guilty of five counts of indecent assault and one of indecency with a child.
Judge George Moorhouse said: “It is quite clear from the pre-
sentence report and from what I heard from the trial that you groomed this young lady.
“You started off by kissing her. These are very serious offences which fully justify a custodial sentence.
“Apart from these offences you have never been in trouble before.
“But the public have to be protected, especially young women, and therefore a custodial sentence is inevitable.”
Bate, of Arnold Grove, Hartlepool, listened intently to the judge’s remarks and looked shocked when the sentence of six years was announced.
Relatives of Bate, who was of previous good character, wept in the courtroom.
Christine Egerton, mitigating, said: “The effect of the sentence on him will be much greater than it would be on a younger man.
“I urge Your Honour to bear that in mind when passing sentence.
“It is going to have a dramatic effect on him and impact on his life.”
Bate was also ordered to register as a sex offender for life and given a Sexual Offences Prevention Order banning him from working with children.