A Hastings man who ‘glorified’ in the abuse of a young girl and sent text messages to a friend about it has been jailed.
James Hamling, 25, carried out ‘calculated and deliberate’ offences, Brighton Crown Court heard today.
In a powerful and brave statement read out in court, his victim spoke about how she was left ‘anxious’ and ‘depressed’ following her interaction with Hamling.
Hamling, of Elphinstone Avenue in Hastings, was jailed today for eight years after being convicted of six sexual offences.
Judge Jeremy Gold QC told Hamling: “You contacted her online. You groomed her for sex.
“This is sexual abuse of a minor. It is aggravated by the worrying text messages.”
The victim was very brave to attend court and give her evidenceDetective Constable Chloe Barden
The court heard how Hamling texted with another man about his crimes, which Prosecutor Rachel Beckett QC described as ‘egging each other on’.
Judge Gold continued: “That is a significant aggravating feature.
“You obviously had a common interest between the two of you in underage sex.
“You are glorifying in the conquest of an underage girl.
“The texts indicate that this was calculated, deliberate behaviour on your part.”
An emotional statement from the victim was read out in court.
It said: “Since the event happened my mental health has not been good.
“I ended up feeling depressed for quite a while.
“I felt really anxious walking around. I did not know where James was or could be.”
Hamling had pleaded guilty to five offences: meeting a child following sexual grooming, taking indecent photographs of a child, two counts of possession of indecent photographs, and possessing an extreme pornographic image.
At trial he was found guilty of sexual activity with a child.
Defence barrister Paul Walker said: “There has been a relatively large amount of positive water under his bridge since [the crimes].
“He has a steady and stable relationship with his partner, a child who will be 18, and a second son who is due to be born.
“There are degrees of optimism for this young man who until this matter had no previous convictions.”
Judge Gold sentenced Hamling to eight years in prison.
Hamling must also register as a sex offender and computer equipment seized from him by police will be destroyed.
Following the conviction, Detective Constable Chloe Barden from Sussex Police said: “Hamling first contacted the victim via Facebook.
“He groomed her online over a period time into meeting him, for his own sexual gratification.
“This was clearly predatory behaviour, and the victim was very brave to attend court and give her evidence, which helped ensure that justice was done.”
If this sort of offending is happening to someone you know or even to you, do not suffer in silence. Contact Sussex Police online at www.sussex.police.uk/contact-us/ or via 101 and arrange to speak in confidence to experienced investigators.