Chipping Norton man sentenced for sexual grooming of girl, 13

Luke Southam outside Oxford Crown Court

Luke Southam outside Oxford Crown Court

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Education Reporter, also covering West Oxford. Call me on (01865) 425437

A MAN asked a teenage girl he groomed over Facebook to change out of her school uniform into “something sexy” before he met her.

Luke Southam, 21, kissed the 13-year-old girl, who cannot be identified, when they first saw each other at Banbury railway station.

In a victim statement, Judge Tom Corrie said the young girl had thought Southam was in love with her and has been emotionally scarred by the incident.

Yesterday Southam was given a community order at Oxford Crown Court.

Southam, of Cornish Road, Chipping Norton, was found guilty of meeting up with a girl following sexual grooming in February, by a jury that made the unanimous decision in one hour and 20 minutes.

During his trial it was heard he had contacted the girl via social networking site Facebook in March last year, and despite knowing she was just 13 years old, met up with her.

She told him she would be in her school clothes, but he told her to bring a change of clothes and “wear something sexy”.

In mitigation, Terence Woods, defending, said: “His mental age is not that far apart from the young girl he was in contact with and that maywell explain, in part, this whole incident.”

Judge Corrie said: “Your IQ has been measured as relatively low and you may not have appreciated the danger you posed and the effect on the girl of that age who thought herself in love, that has caused her significant distress from she is still suffering.

“I hope you now understand you were in effect playing with the emotions of somebody who was too young to cope with it.”

Southam was given an 18-month community order, with an education requirement, a Sexual Offences Prevention Order, which stops him from coming into contact with any one under the age of 16 for five years, and he must sign the Sex Offenders' Register for five years.

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