A shop worker has been jailed after grooming a teenage girl for sex.
Ellee Nicoll, 25, bought the girl gifts and gave her money before embarking on a sexual relationship with her.
A court heard Nicoll had ‘cultivated’ the relationship, engaging in months of sexting with the teenager – and decided to watch a ‘lesbian movie’ with her to normalize ‘what [she] wanted to happen”.
The truth only emerged when the girl’s mother grew concerned about the pair’s closeness and told the teenager what grooming entailed.
This led to the youngster feeling “sick” in her stomach.
Sitting at Swindon Crown Court, Judge Jason Taylor QC, sentenced Nicoll to an immediate jail term of two years and two months.
He said “alarm bells should have been ringing loud and clear in your mind, but you were apparently dead”.
Opening the case, prosecutor Andrew Houston said Nicoll, of Walcot, Somerset, initially befriended the girl and the victim considered her a “big sister”. But the relationship quickly changed, with the victim taking the first step to turn the conversation into sexting – and also sending her pictures of herself naked and in her underwear.
It was claimed that Nicoll, who worked at the Swindon branch of Co-Op, returned photos, although this was disputed by the defence. The posts showed a “strong sexual flirtation” between the two, and friends said the pair were “sensitive” and slapped their buttocks.
Houston said Nicoll’s mother warned her to stay away from the schoolgirl.
Then one night the teenager’s mother offered Nicoll accommodation as she had a family disagreement and, unaware of the nature of their relationship, said they could share a bed.
He told the court they watched “a lesbian movie in bed and then they agreed to do stuff to each other.”
In the days that followed, Nicoll described it as “the best night of her life”, and the victim said she had “no regrets”.
Mitigating, Gareth James said the offense was ‘out of place’ and had ‘already had a devastating effect on her’.
“She appears to be a defendant who can be correctly and accurately described as herself vulnerable and perhaps immature, and may not have thought through the consequences of her actions, having indeed fallen into feelings she didn’t shouldn’t have had,” James said. .
He added that it had had a “significant negative impact” on his client’s mental health and that she was voluntarily working to address it. He pleaded with Judge Taylor to impose a suspended sentence, saying the work she had already undertaken on a voluntary basis “demonstrates very clearly that there is a significant prospect of rehabilitation”.
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At sentencing, Judge Taylor acknowledged that Nicoll “did not plan” to groom the girl, but the grooming nevertheless took place.
“When she sent you nude pictures of herself, the appropriate thing to do was to gently say ‘it’s not appropriate’.
“You had become so desensitized because of his age that it didn’t let you think in the cold, harsh light of day. “No regrets” for [the victim] turned to embarrassment, and by the time she was questioned by the police, she felt ill.
“Sometimes teenagers just need to be protected from themselves.”
Judge Taylor told the court that while female offenses of this type are more unusual, “they are no less serious.”
“There is still a child victim who will be affected by what you have done,” he said. For this reason, even if the sentence had been suspended, I would have reluctantly said that a proper sentence could only be obtained by immediate imprisonment.
After pleading guilty to sexual activity with a child and sexual communication with a child, Nicoll was jailed for two years and two months.
A sexual abuse prevention order was issued for 10 years, as was a restraining order preventing him from contacting the victim.