Christopher Woakes, 30, found guilty of sexually grooming 15-year-old girl

Ipswich Crown Court

Ipswich Crown Court

A man who met a 15-year-old Suffolk girl after sexually grooming her has been warned he is facing a jail term when he is sentenced later this month.

Christopher Woakes, 30, of Shirehampton, Bristol, pleaded guilty at Ipswich Crown Court to meeting the girl following sexual grooming between October 1 and November 21 2015 not reasonably believing she was 16 or over. He also admitted sexual activity with the girl on two occasions between the same dates.

In August 2015, Woakes contacted a number of underage girls online via the social media platform Kik in an attempt to cultivate a sexual relationship with them. One of them was the victim, who has learning difficulties.

He started a relationship with her, sending her explicit images of himself. This led to him meeting her near her home address on a number of occasions during October 2015 and during these meetings he engaged in sexual activity with her.

He encouraged the teenager to lie to her parents about who she was meeting – they were told she was spending time with a teenage boy – but they became suspicious when they eventually saw him and realised that he was much older than 16.

At this point all contact was severed with Woakes by the victim and her parents and police were informed.

His true identity came to light in November when he repeatedly tried to contact the victim, sending her a mobile phone through the post and loitering outside of her home address. Members of the public became suspicious of his presence in the area and reported this to the police, which assisted in helping to identify him as the suspect.

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He was arrested on November 20 2015 at his home address and a number of computers and devices were seized.

When interviewed by detectives from the Gemini specialist sexual offences team in Bury St Edmunds, Woakes refused to answer any questions in interview and was subsequently charged.

Analysis of the computers and phones owned by Woakes uncovered a number of illegal images of children. These enquiries also highlighted Woakes had attempted to contact children in a number of countries attempting to distribute and obtain illegal images.

Adjourning sentence for three weeks Judge Rupert Overbury said: “There is only one sentence and that is likely to be an extremely long sentence.”