Rugby man jailed for grooming girl, 13

Benjamin Washbrooke, from Rugby NNL-170805-105125001
Benjamin Washbrooke, from Rugby NNL-170805-105125001

A Rugby man who persuaded a 13-year-old girl to send him pictures of herself performing sex acts and tried to get her to meet him for sex has been jailed.

Benjamin Washbrooke pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to attempting to meet the girl following grooming, causing her to engage in sexual activity and causing her to watch a sexual image.

Washbrooke, 39, of Biart Place, Rugby, who suffers from debilitating Torsion Dystonia, was jailed for 28 months and ordered to register as a sex offender for ten years.

Glyn Samuel, prosecuting, explained: “This all came to light because of a conversation being overheard by a teacher who heard two girls talking about sexual matters.”

The conversation last year was between the 13-year-old girl and a friend of hers, who Mr Samuel said also appeared in some of the images sent to Washbrooke, but fully-clothed.

The teacher spoke to the girls, as a result of which the police were contacted.

“The girl indicated that some time around the beginning of May she received a Facebook request from the defendant to become friends.

“Within a short period of time the conversation quite clearly became sexual in nature.”

Washbrooke persuaded the girl to send intimate pictures of herself and to perform sex acts on herself and to send him pictures of her doing so.

He continued to ask for pictures of her and repeatedly asked her to meet and have sex with him. Washbrooke also sent her a movie clip of himself performing a sex act.

He made arrangements to meet her in a park and started to get upset when she failed to turn up.

He sent messages in which he was abusive towards the girl, who had changed he mind when she realised it would be inappropriate to meet him.

But he continued to contact her, asking for more pictures of her and still trying to persuade her to meet him, said Mr Samuel.

When arrested, Washbrooke, who had no previous convictions, accepted that ‘ages ago’ he had sent a Facebook request to the girl, who he admitted he knew was only 13.

David Everett, defending, said: “His disease, although he does not like that word, makes it very difficult for him.

“He’s not been able to form any relationship, and he says he likes working but his illness stops him. He has only worked for two weeks in his life.”

Mr Everett explained that Washbrooke suffers from Torsion Dystonia, which began when he was seven and got progressively worse, affecting all the muscles in his body and causing painful and uncontrollable contractions.

“He’s in constant pain. He’s on a cocktail of 30 tablets a day which helps to relieve the pain and the muscle strains.”

Of the offences, Mr Everett said: “He accepts what he did, and he accepts what he persuaded the girl to do.”

Mr Everett asked the judge to consider suspending any custodial sentence.

But after adjourning to consider the case, Recorder Michael Burrows QC said there had to be an immediate sentence.

He told Washbrooke: “I have to follow the guidelines.

“This was an attempt, but you did all you could to effect a meeting. This was determined, and was sustained over a few weeks.”