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A woman from Stockport has been jailed for six years for a series of sex offences with a vulnerable child.
Laura Jane Bardsley (DOB 28/06/1994), of Reddish, Stockport, sent love letters to her young victim and even took him to a hotel for the night.
In June 2020, Bardsley started online communication with the boy knowing he had a number of complex vulnerabilities and needs.
The communication became sexual and she invited the child into the home she shared with her adult partner and two young children.
She pretended to be a positive influence on the child during lockdown but was secretly grooming him and eventually began a sexual relationship with him without the knowledge of anyone else.
The love letters were found by the child's mother and Bardsley was arrested.
Bardsley pleaded guilty to two counts of non-penetrative sexual activity with a child, two counts of penetrative sexual activity with a child, harassment of a child and using an illicit mobile phone in prison.
She was jailed for six years at Minshull Street Crown Court today (19 May) and received a lifetime Sexual Harm Prevention Order and will be required to sign the Sex Offender Register for life.
Detective Mike Allen, of Greater Manchester Police's Complex Safeguarding Team, said: “Child sexual exploitation takes many forms.
"I'd like to pay tribute to the victim and his family for having the bravery to report this matter and have the willingness to give evidence even if it had gone to a trial and being prepared to face the offender.
"I hope this result has repaid their confidence placed in the authorities and provides them with some justice when coming to terms with these horrible crimes.
"I encourage young people who are - or anyone else who suspects a young person is - being inappropriately contacted by an adult via the internet, in person or any other channel to report it to an appropriate adult or agency, whether that is a parent, carer, teacher or the police.
"Ensuring that victims are safeguarded and offenders face justice are our highest priorities.
"I hope today's sentence serves as a warning to offenders, deterring them from communicating with a child to satisfy their sexual desires.
"As this case demonstrates, being convicted of doing so can result in a prison sentence."
Where to get help if you have been a victim of a sexual offence
Project Phoenix continues to develop Greater Manchester’s response to CSE. Please visit www.itsnotokay.co.uk for information for children, young people, parents, carers and professionals on how to spot the signs of child sexual exploitation and what to do about it.
Greater Manchester is nationally recognised as a model of good practice in terms of support services available to victims.
If you or someone you know has been raped or sexually assaulted, we encourage you not to suffer in silence and report it to the police, or a support agency so you can get the help and support available.
- Saint Mary's Sexual Assault Referral Centre, Manchester provides a comprehensive and co-ordinated response to men, women and children who live or have been sexually assaulted within Greater Manchester. They offer forensic medical examinations, practical and emotional support as well as a counselling service for all ages. Services are available on a 24-hour basis and can be accessed by calling 0161 276 6515.
- Greater Manchester Rape Crisis is a confidential information, support and counselling service run by women for women over 18 who have been raped or sexually abused at any time in their lives. Call on 0161 273 4500 or email [email protected]nchesterrapecrisis.co.uk
- Survivors Manchester provides specialist trauma informed support to boys and men in Greater Manchester who have experienced sexual abuse, rape or sexual exploitation. Call 0161 236 2182.