‘Preda­tor’ jailed for groom­ing 13-year-old

Hawke's Bay Today - - Local News -

A Hawke’s Bay judge has warned that sex­ual of­fences against un­der­age vic­tims will al­most cer­tainly lead to jail, re­gard­less of con­sent be­ing in­volved.

The warn­ing came in Napier Dis­trict Court yes­ter­day as Judge Ge­off Rea sen­tenced 39-year-old Nigel Fran­cis Coles to two years and one month in prison for the “bla­tant sex­ual pre­da­tion” of a 13-year-old boy.

The judge said Coles knew the boy was un­der-age and was in “no real po­si­tion” to make an in­formed de­ci­sion about con­sent.

Coles, who was liv­ing with his wife and chil­dren, ar­ranged on­line to meet the boy, oth­er­wise un­known to him, in a pub­lic toi­let on March 31. He pleaded guilty to a charge of un­law­ful sex­ual con­nec­tion as a re­sult of the meet­ing.

Judge Rea told Coles that even if the prison sen­tence had been cal­cu­lated at less than two years, he would not have con­sid­ered home de­ten­tion.

“This was planned, you es­sen­tially groomed this boy,” Judge Rea said, adding later: “The mes­sage needs to be brought home that there is a cost for that be­hav­iour”.

Out­side the court, the boy’s mother sup­ported the sen­tence, and pub­li­ca­tion of the of­fender’s name, for which there was no sup­pres­sion.

She told Hawke’s Bay To­day: “It is re­ally im­por­tant the com­mu­nity know of him and his of­fend­ing so we can all pro­tect our chil­dren.”

The court was told Coles and the boy had come into con­tact via a web­site, and that on March 31 Coles asked the boy to con­nect via text mes­sage.

Coles asked the boy’s age and was told “14, nearly 15”, then the ar­range­ment was made to meet.

Judge Rea said that what­ever the boy’s age, Coles knew he was un­der 16.

“What you did there­fore was preda­tory be­hav­iour against a child,” Judge Rea said.

It was the sec­ond case of its type in the Napier Dis­trict Court this year, with a 34-year-old man in Au­gust hav­ing been sen­tenced to two years and three months in prison.

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