Police: St Helens Facebook fiend Stephen Sumner plied girls with booze

Stephen Sumner has been jailed for five years

Stephen Sumner has been jailed for five years

First published in News

STEPHEN SUMNER, who groomed under-age teenage girls on Facebook, “incapacitated” his victims with alcohol before committing sexual attacks, say police.

Speaking about the investigation that led to 21-year-old Sumner’s conviction, detectives also praised the young victims for having the courage to give evidence.

Detective Inspector Paul Unsworth said: “Sumner preyed on innocent young people when they were at vulnerable stages in their lives.

“Contacting his victims through social media, he would incapacitate them with alcohol before subjecting them to serious assaults.”

Sumner, who would lure the girls to the bedroom of his flat, was convicted after a trial of seven charges involving sexual grooming and sexual activity with three girls under the age of 16.

He had also pleaded guilty to three charges of inciting another under-age girl to engage in sexual activity.

DI Unsworth added: “Sumner’s victims have been very brave in finding the courage to come forward, to report this abuse to police and to give their evidence.

“We, the CPS and other agencies have supported them during what must have been a very difficult period.

“The sentence should send out a message to sexual offenders, that if victims speak out we will do everything in our power to bring you before the courts.

“Similarly I hope that the sentencing sends a message to victims of sexual abuse that if you can find the courage to report such incidents we are willing to take action.”

Sumner, of Holbrook Close, in Sutton, was sent to jail for years and will be on an extended licence for two years after his release.

Sentencing at Liverpool Crown Court, Judge Watson said Sumner had sex with his first vulnerable victim at his flat when he knew she was only 14.

The girl, who was in care living with her grandparents, was flattered by the attentions of an older man.

The judge said: “It was not a loving relationship, it was a relationship characterised by sexual convenience for you and was an abusive relationship.

“She became pregnant, and when she became pregnant it is no coincidence that your relationship came to an end.

“She had to have a termination of that pregnancy 10 days before her 15th birthday.”

Sumner was spoken to by police about the situation but continued his course of conduct and had already moved on to another under-age girl.

They had sexual activity but as she was more streetwise he did not progress matters, the court heard. He groomed another 15-year-old on the internet and persuaded her to expose herself on camera, before turning his attentions to a vulnerable 14-year-old who became infatuated with him.

She absconded from home and police found her naked at this flat, but she was disruptive and claimed nothing had been going on.

However, the court heard that about six weeks later in June last year she gave them a statement.

In this she said that after a pillow fight they had sexual intercourse and after she returned home he sent her a message saying “that never happened”.

In a victim impact statement she said she had been left feeling unhappy and depressed. David Potter, prosecuting, said Sumner’s crimes happened over two and a half years.

Judge Watson ordered Sumner to sign the Sex Offenders Register for life and imposed a Sexual Offences Prevention Order for 14 years restricting his internet use and unsupervised contact with children.

Eric Lamb, defending, said Sumner had problems in his upbringing and perceived he was helping the victims who were in similar circumstances.

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