Wednesday, October 16, 2013
A 21-year-old man pleaded guilty to using social media to groom a 15-year-old girl.
Ghafar Akthar, son of former mayor Sid Akthar, was contacted on Facebook late last year by a girl, whose identity is protected, as their birthdays fell within a day of each other.
Peterborough Crown Court was told the pair started sending messages via the site then moved to telephone calls and text messages.
Akthar, of Sapley Road, Hartford, believed the girl was 16 – the age she posted on Facebook – but on January 6 he was told she was under age, but continued sending messages.
Last Thursday (October 10), the court was told the messages started flirtatiously, but over time turned more explicit and included pictures and videos.
Cheryl Williams, prosecuting, told the court: “There’s a lot of sexual content to the conversation. This is mainly instigated by Mr Akthar. Often she agrees to what he is saying.”
Akthar also asked the girl to engage in sexual activity with him. She replied: “I guess when I’m 16 I can do that.”
Ms Williams said when the victim told Akthar she didn’t want to continue the relationship, he sent a barrage of unanswered messages and threatened to post on Facebook the pictures she had sent him.
On January 30 the girl’s mother looked at her daughter’s phone and called the police.
Ms Williams added: “One of the girl’s friends contacted Mr Akthar saying he was in trouble. He sent the girl a message which said: ‘You lied about your age and I’m glad we did nothing.’ This was to clear himself and blame his victim for her age.”
When Akthar was arrested, officers found his phone had been wiped.
John Kirkpatrick, mitigating, said: “I would like to apologise on Mr Akthar’s behalf for his behaviour in January. It started with him believing that she was 16. When he found out the victim was actually 15, he accepts that he should not have continued.”
At an earlier hearing Akthar admitted sexual grooming, inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and involving a child in pornography.
Yesterday (Tuesday) he was given a three-year community order with three-year’s supervision and a 70 day-sexual offences treatment programme.
Akthar was also ordered to sign on to the Sexual Offenders’ Register and was given a restraining order from contacting the girl for life.
Judge Nic Madge said: “Let there be no mistake. My approach to sentencing you would have been very different if you had looked for an under age girl or had started communicating in the way you did knowing your victim was only 15.”