Walton Highway man handed two years in prison for meeting a child following sexual grooming

David John Say, of School Road, Walton Highway, was sentenced to two years in prison after pleading guilty to meeting a child following sexual grooming. Photo: Norfolk Constabulary

David John Say, of School Road, Walton Highway, was sentenced to two years in prison after pleading guilty to meeting a child following sexual grooming. Photo: Norfolk Constabulary

Norfolk Constabulary

A Walton Highway man was sentenced to two years in prison after pleading guilty to meeting a child following sexual grooming.

David Say, of School Road, Walton Highway, had initially pleaded not guilty to the offence, which took place between December 2015 and June this year.

But he later changed his plea, Norwich Crown Court heard yesterday.

Say, 55, was involved in a relationship with a 15-year-old girl.

Stephen Spence, prosecuting, said: “Messages from the defendant showed him expressing to her how much he missed her and loved her.”

After Say was first arrested on December 21 last year, he was bailed with the condition he should not contact the girl.

“But there were a number of meetings,” said Mr Spence.

Say, who is married with three children and 12 grandchildren also “sent her letters and referred to their relationship,” said Mr Spence.

“He expressed that he wanted to be together forever.”

Say denied he sent the letters but a handwriting expert had confirmed his writing.

On June 24 this year he again met up with the girl, and was then arrested for breaching his bail conditions.

Say had also given her a phone and charger so she could contact him. He was then arrested and had been in custody since.

Charles Falk, defending, said: “He took absolute leave of his senses. He’s a very approachable and friendly person and up until now that was a positive characteristic.”

Mr Falk said the girl had developed an infatuation with Say. And Say had in turn developed feelings for her.

“That feeling of flattery caused him to take a leave of his senses,” said Mr Falk, who added any sexual behaviour had been no more than kissing and hugging.

Mr Falk also said Say had been working in prison while in custody, and suffered from arthritis and a club foot.

Sentencing, Judge Anthony Bate said: “You breached your bail on a number of repeated occasions by continuing to contact the girl.

“You are old enough to be her father. Through your own foolishness you crossed the line into criminality.”

He said courts must step in to protect children and sentenced Say to two years in prison.

When he is released he will be placed on licence and Judge Bate said the probation service would need to give careful consideration as to whether that would prevent future contact with the girl.

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