Jail for man who abused girl of 13

Stephen Holden was jailed for nine years
Stephen Holden was jailed for nine years

A man who groomed a 13-year-old girl before beginning a sexual relationship with her has been jailed for nine years.

Stephen Holden preyed on the vulnerable youngster at a friend’s house after getting to know her over a four-month period.

Police launched an investigation after one of the girl’s young friends raised concerns with officers. Detectives discovered Holden had been having sexual activity with the girl at a house in Leyland after befriending her and showering her with gifts.

The 33-year-old, of Shap Court, Fleetwood, was found guilty of five charges of sexual activity with a child between September 2009 and October 2009.

Det Con Edward Clayton, from Lancashire Police’s specialist Cherish team which deals with child sexual exploitation in the south of the county, said: “The girl was a young, vulnerable girl and he (Holden) preyed on this. Anyone who has engaged in sexual activity with a child is dangerous by the nature of the offending.”

He added: “We are satisfied with the outcome. The girl is fine now.”

Holden was 32 and living in Leyland at the time of the offences.

He later moved to Fleetwood, where he has family.

Holden was sentence to a total of nine years in all, minus the 50 days he spent on remand.

He was placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register indefinitely, handed a Sexual Offenders Prevention Order and disqualified from working with children.