Jailed: Young Telford father groomed schoolgirl and collected her in his car

A young father from Telford who groomed a schoolgirl half his age for his own sexual gratification has been jailed.

Timothy Schofield. Photo: West Mercia Police.
Timothy Schofield. Photo: West Mercia Police.

Timothy Schofield will serve at least five years in prison for his campaign against the girl.

Schofield, who was 24 at the time, sought out the girl online in early 2018 and tried to ingratiate himself with her, pretending he was only 17 himself.

Over a period of about six months the paedophile groomed her online, encouraging her to send him intimate photographs and on one occasion collecting her in his car in Shrewsbury to speak to her in person.

Victim impact statements read out at Shrewsbury Crown Court said the girl had felt "special and cared for" because of Schofield's attentions, but then felt "betrayed" after learning of his true nature and began struggling at school in her GCSE years.

The grooming was revealed in October 2018 when a friend of the young victim raised her concerns with the girl's mother, the court heard.

Schofield, now 27, went on trial earlier this year and was convicted of five sexual offences, including inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and meeting a child following sexual grooming.

He was brought back to court on Monday to be sentenced for his crimes.

'Profound impact'

His representative Miss Debra White said: "He is sorry for all of this – those are the words that he uses.

"He is also sorry that the victim in this case has had to give evidence."

Miss White pointed out that sexual intercourse never took place between Schofield and his victim despite the explicitly sexual nature of their conversations.

Judge Peter Barrie said that the largely online nature of the grooming made the case a "very sad story of our times".

"That hasn't stopped it having a profound impact on her," he said.

"It was just as real to her as if it had been face-to-face, when you said these things over the internet."

He sentenced Schofield, of Ken Jones Close in Telford, to a total of eight years in jail – he will serve at least two thirds of that before being considered for parole.

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