Predator groomed schoolgirls on Facebook

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A FACEBOOK pervert who used the social networking site to groom two schoolgirls has been jailed.

Predator Anthony Lauder, 28, preyed on the youngsters after contacting them through the website.

He persuaded one girl to go to his Hartlepool flat where sexual activity took place between them.

Lauder also attempted to meet a younger girl. But she failed to go through with it.

He was jailed for four years and four months at Teesside Crown Court after he admitted two counts of sexual activity with one victim, meeting of a child following sexual grooming and attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming.

The court heard he knew both girls were aged under 16 and lied to them about his age.

Following the sexual activity at his flat, Lauder later spoke to her on Facebook about what had taken place.

He made contact with the second girl, who was too young to join Facebook but lied about her age, around the same time.

Ian Mullarkey, prosecuting, said: “He sent her messages to the effect of ‘hi sexy, do you want to come and watch a DVD?’.

“He asked her to meet him in Hartlepool and later to help him while he was babysitting.”

They also exchanged pictures of each other.

To the girl’s later relief, she did not go through with it.

Lauder had a previous conviction for sexual activity with a child and had breached orders made to monitor his whereabouts and behaviour several times.

The court heard Lauder’s actions had a serious effect on both girls.

The oldest has since struggled with her exams while the younger girl does not feel comfortable around her friends.

Stephen Constantine, mitigating, said Lauder had problems with alcohol.

He said: “He accepts full responsibility, albeit at a late stage, for what he did.

“Thankfully it would seem that the activity was limited.”

Mr Constantine added Lauder did not use alcohol, drugs or threats of violence to coerce the victims.

Judge Howard Crowson described Lauder, of Bruce Crescent, as “predatory” who took advantage of young girls and said the impact on the victims could not be underplayed.

He said: “It is very clear that these were offences in which you were persistent in your attraction to the girls.”

Detective Constable Darren Cass welcomed the sentence given to Lauder and said the case highlighted the potential dangers of young people and social network websites.

Det Con Cass said: “It’s worrying because there are people out there that fish about.

“We are pleased it has come to a conclusion and that he did plead guilty.

“Yes, Facebook is great, but be wary who it is you are speaking to.”