Man jailed after swapping hundreds of explicit selfies and having sex with teenage girl

Philip Gainford
Philip Gainford

A man with a low IQ who had a sexual relationship with a teenage girl has been jailed for three years and four months.

Philip Gainford, 30, from Hartlepool, swapped hundreds of indecent selfie pictures with the schoolgirl before they met and had sex.

There was hundreds of messages between the defendant and the victim. They were sexualised

Harry Hadfield, prosecutor

Teesside Crown Court heard how the girl, who cannot be identified, was besotted with Gainford, who has a learning disability, called him ‘my prince’ while he called her his ‘princess’.

He was given a suspended prison sentence in October last year after being convicted of sexual offences against the same girl.

But the court heard that she contacted him on a social media platform at the start of this year.

Despite being subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order preventing him from having any contact with anyone under 16, Gainford responded and the pair exchanged hundreds of explicit text messages on Whats App.

Harry Hadfield, prosecuting, said: “There was hundreds of messages between the defendant and the victim.

“They were sexualised.

“The defendant started messaging inciting her to engage in sexual activity.

“He asked her to send him dirty photos.”

Police found 291 indecent photos of the girl on his mobile phone.

Mr Hadfield added: “They met up about a week after communicating by text to engage in sexual activity. Typically, they went to a beach together.”

Gainford, of Troutpool Close, Hartlepool, pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual activity with a child and four of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

He also admitted possessing indecent photos and breaching the previous court order.

The court heard the girl told police she wanted to be together with Gainford.

Mr Hadfield added: “[She] told police they were in touch every second of the day, even when she was at school.”

Stephen Constantine, mitigating, said Gainford’s learning disability meant he was more suggestible.

He added the girl told police she was not pressured into doing anything by Gainford who put up some resistance at first.

Judge Sean Morris said he had to impose an immediate prison term saying it was the only way that Gainford, who will be on the sex offenders’ register for 10 years, would learn.

The judge warned Gainford against any further court appearances.

He added: “If you come back before me the book will be thrown at you, disability or no disabilities.”