Man, 46, jailed for abusing child

A PERVERT who abused a child has been jailed for two-and-a-half years.

Jeffrey Pringle, 46, forced the youngster to engage in sexual activity with him on numerous occasions, Teesside Crown Court heard.

The victim came forward while Pringle was on police bail after being arrested over indecent images of children found on his computer.

David Brooke, prosecuting, said Pringle had been flagged up by officials on an internet pornography taskforce after his computer was used to access sordid websites.

Police found he had downloaded 22 indecent images of children from the internet, all of the lowest level of seriousness.

The victim told a teacher about the abuse around five months after Pringle was initially arrested.

The child described Pringle’s crimes as “horrible” and the child’s mother told in a statement of the impact it had had on the victim and the whole family.

Pringle pleaded guilty to four counts of sexual activity with a child, 16 of making indecent images of children and one of possessing indecent images of children.

Pringle, of Tower Street, Hartlepool, was expecting jail and entered the dock with a packed hold-all.

Christine Edwards, mitigating, said he had been frank with the probation service officials about his offending.

She said: “He is remorseful for his actions. His candidness and willingness to accept help on offer is very positive and a good starting point for the rest of his life.

“To some extent he has been punished already. As a result of these offences he doesn’t have a marriage.”

Sentencing Pringle to 30 months in prison, Judge George Moorhouse said: “These are very serious offences – offences which fully justify a custodial sentence.”

Pringle will be put on the sex offenders’ register for life and was also made subject of a sexual offenders’ prevention order which will ban him having unsupervised contact with anyone under the age of 18.