A pensioner who befriended a ten-year-old Rugby boy before sexually abusing him in his car had intended to have ‘a thoroughly corrupting influence’ on him.
Leslie Jones had denied sexually assaulting the boy, branding the youngster a liar, but was convicted by a jury at Warwick Crown Court.
And following an adjournment for a pre-sentence report to be prepared on him, Jones, who was cleared of a second alleged offence against the boy, was jailed for 18 months.
Jones, 73, of Upper Eastern Green, Coventry, was also ordered to register as a sex offender for ten years and made subject to a sexual offences prevention order.
During his trial the court had heard that Jones befriended the boy, whose mother was described as being ‘a vulnerable woman.’
He bought the ten-year-old presents, including an iPod, as part of a ‘grooming’ process.
Then after getting the boy into his car, Jones groped the youngster over his clothing.
That came to light following another alleged incident, but Jones denied engaging in any sexual activity with the boy.
And during the trial Jones accused his young victim of lying – which was rejected by the jury.
At the resumed hearing Judge Alan Parker said he would sentence Jones on the basis that it was ‘a single incident, but preceded by several weeks of grooming.’
Trevor Meegan, defending, said: “He fully expects an immediate sentence of custody today. But he is 73 years of age, a man of almost good character and absolutely nothing in his history to suggest sexual predatory offending.”
Mr Meegan said that in a pre-sentence report Jones accepts his guilt and that he touched the boy inappropriately.
Mr Meegan added that Jones has no close family, with one son living in Florida and the other a teacher in Yorkshire who he has not seen for a year.
Jailing Jones, Judge Alan Parker told him: “On the clearest possible evidence the jury convicted you of a sexual assault on a ten-year-old boy.
“You had groomed him by befriending him and purchasing for him expensive items.
“I am satisfied you intended to have a thoroughly corrupting influence on that young boy. But mercifully, it was a single incident over his clothing.
“You receive no credit for a guilty plea. The trial involved this ten-year-old boy being cross-examined on the premise that he had lied, and you gave evidence that he had lied.”