Girl, 14, sexually assaulted by Snapchat friend while babysitting

NEWS from Nottingham Crown Court.
NEWS from Nottingham Crown Court.

A 14-year-old girl was sexually assaulted while she was babysitting by a Belper teenager she met on Snapchat, a court heard.

The girl struck up a relationship with 19-year-old Joshua Pickering via the popular mobile app, which allows people to send messages, pictures and videos to each other.

But when she fell out with her boyfriend, Pickering went round to her aunt’s house, where she was babysitting for her young cousins. And his attempts to comfort her went too far, Nottingham Crown Court was told.

Pickering, of Yardley Way, pleaded guilty to the intentional sexual touching of the girl on Wednesday, August 26 last year. He was sentenced to a two-year community order, with supervision by the probation service. He was also ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register.

Ian Way, prosecuting, told the court that Pickering was well aware that the girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, was only 14.

“On the evening in question, she received a Snapchat message from him, asking how she was,” said Mr Way.

“She told him about her boyfriend, so he said he would come round. She took it jokingly, but he took it seriously and was there within five minutes.

“She had some reservations, but they flirted and hugged. He then kissed her on the forehead and cheek and after they chatted, she sat on his lap on the sofa where the sexual touching took place.

“He said to her something like: no-one needs to know. It is to be our secret.

“After he had left, she became upset and, because of what happened with her boyfriend, she felt guilty. She contacted a friend, who called the police.”

Mr Way applied for Pickering to be handed a sexual harm prevention order for five years. But this was successfully opposed by Pickering’s barrister, Julia King, mitigating, who argued that her client “does not present a relevant risk to the public”.

Miss King made no more comments after hearing that the judge was happy to follow the sentencing recommendations of a pre-sentence report prepared by probation officers.

Judge James Sampson told Pickering: “You obviously knew what you were doing, hence the reference to secrecy. There is some evidence in the pre-sentence report with regard to distorted thinking.”