A convicted paedophile who abducted a girl from the Ipswich area and had sex with her after meeting her on a messaging app has been jailed for nine years.
Sentencing Ricky McGovern, of Waterside Marina, Brightlingsea, who targeted a schoolgirl from the Ipswich area over a messaging app, today, Judge Rupert Overbury described him as having “an entrenched and disturbing” interest in contacting and sexually assaulting young girls for his own sexual gratification.
He said 32-year-old McGovern represented a danger to children by the commission of further serious offences in the future and passed a five-year extended licence period.
Richard Potts, prosecuting, told Ipswich Crown Court that McGovern was made the subject of a 10-year SOPO in January 2012.
The court heard he had previously been sentenced to 15 months’ imprisonment by Chelmsford Crown Court on August 8, 2007, for sexual activity with a girl aged under 16, taking indecent images of under aged girls in his bedroom, and possessing 2,154 indecent images of children.
In January this year McGovern was fined £350 for being in breach of his order.
He subsequently pleaded guilty to abduction and meeting a child following grooming in relation to his latest offences.
McGovern also admitted three charges of sexual activity with a child, one offence of taking an indecent photo, and two further charges of breaching a sexual offences prevention order.
The court heard McGovern had made contact with the girl through a messaging app for teens and young adults and set up a meeting after only a few days.
The teenager thought he was really nice, but had told McGovern she was under 16.
Initially he told her he was 28, but later admitted he was 31 at the time.
McGovern suggested the girl run away with him and told her he loved her.
After picking her up she removed the battery and SIM card from her phone and gave it to him, the court heard.
McGovern took her to his home where he locked the doors when the pair were inside and kept the keys on him.
He told the girl he wanted to go to Paris or Germany with her.
At one point Mr Potts said: “He told her it had been the best time of his life.”
Detective Constable Reuben Brame, of Suffolk Police’s Protecting Vulnerable People Directorate, said: “Ricky McGovern is a predator who had been issued a previous sexual offences prevention order prohibiting him from contacting any female under the age of 16.
“Despite this he actively sought out the victim online and groomed her, ultimately leading to her abduction and sexual exploitation. I cannot begin to imagine the fear and worry the victim’s family went through and I am pleased we were able to successfully locate her and reunite her with them.
“Suffolk Constabulary will always take robust action against those who target vulnerable young people and I am pleased that the sentence today demonstrates that the courts are prepared to punish individuals convicted of these crimes accordingly.
“I would urge all parents and guardians to talk to their children about online safety and to take a look at the resources available to help you have those conversations.”
Advice is available on the Thinkuknow website, which gives information and advice for young people and their parents and carers.
It also signposts to other help that is available.
Alternatively, you can call the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000.