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Pictured: Alex Barnes

School ICT technician who groomed a child sentenced to 5 years in prison

A school ICT technician who abused his position of trust to groom and sexually abuse a child has today been jailed for 5 years.

Alex Barnes, aged 22, of Bridgend, pleaded guilty to nine sexual offences at a previous hearing.

He pleaded guilty to five counts of sexual activity with a child, three counts of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and one counts of penetrative sexual activity with a child.

Cardiff Crown Court heard, that while Barnes was employed as an ICT technician in a school, he groomed a 15-year-old girl.

The offences took place from February to March 2018.

The court heard Barnes used violence to control the victim by smacking her to the face and pulling her hair to demand sexual acts for gratification.

The defendant instigated the contact between himself and the victim.

Judge Daniel Williams also ordered Barnes to sign the sex offender register and made him the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

Detective Constable Phil Colston, the officer in the case, said:

“Barnes was in a position of trust and abused that position to prey on a young girl. He now has to pay the price for his actions.

“The defendant was persistent and determined in his offending. This has been a very concerning investigation due to the speed of the grooming and controlled coercive behaviour.

“Today’s result is a testament to the bravery of the victim who has not only shown considerable strength and courage to talk about the abuse she suffered, but also throughout the lengthy and complex investigation and court process.

 “I hope today’s sentencing gives her some comfort as she comes to terms with the abuse she suffered and attempts to rebuild her life.

“I also hope that it sends a message to anyone else who has suffered, or is currently suffering abuse, that they can come forward and any allegations will be taken seriously.

“I cannot imagine how difficult it must be to come forward to report such appalling crimes but I want to reassure anyone considering doing so that there is a whole range of support out there, not only from the police but from partner agencies who can help you through the entire process.

“Officers in the specialist child abuse investigation unit covering Bridgend and the Vale of Glamorgan will continue to work tirelessly to protect children and bring perpetrators of child abuse to justice.”

Sexual abuse can be reported via 101, or to Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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