“Vile” registered sex offender jailed for eight years

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Ben Wooding. Image: Bedfordshire Police
Ben Wooding. Image: Bedfordshire Police

A registered sex offender, described by Bedfordshire Police as “a vile individual”, has been jailed for more than eight years after grooming a vulnerable teenage girl into having a sexual relationship with him.

Ben Wooding, 27, met the girl in August 2021 when he was living in the Bedford area and doing some work at her house. He initially struck up conversations and became friendly with her, before he engaged in sexual activity, and regularly gave her alcohol.

He used SnapChat to message the victim, where he coerced her into sending indecent images of herself to him.

Becoming suspicious, the victim’s mother checked her daughter’s PlayStation and discovered the messages and images they had been sending each other and reported it to the police.

Wooding was initially arrested in May 2022 for other offences relating to the possession of indecent images of children. He served a short custodial sentence and was released on licence the following year. He was also the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO).

Read: Elstow paedophile jailed for 26 months after thousands of images found on phone

During this time, the victim had come forward and told police that she had been groomed by Wooding and that he had engaged in sexual activity with her.

Wooding was arrested and interviewed in relation to this, and bailed whilst the investigation was ongoing, but shortly after he breached his conditions by failing to notify police of a change of address and was re-arrested.

On Friday (19 April) Wooding, of Exeter Road, Scunthorpe, received a custodial sentence of eight years and three months, after pleading guilty to three counts of sexual activity with a child, and a further count of breaching both his Sex Offender Notification Requirements and Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO).

He will also serve an additional five years on licence, will be the subject of a lifetime SHPO, on the Sex Offenders Register and was also handed a life-long restraining order.

Detective Constable Oliver Fitton from Bedfordshire Police’s Internet Child Abuse Investigation Team said: “Wooding is a vile individual who took advantage of this vulnerable teenage girl in the worst possible way, so I am pleased he has received a custodial sentence.

“The victim was very brave in coming forward to tell us what had happened, and I hope she is now able to move on from this chapter in her life.

“We work hard to tackle all forms of abuse against children and would urge anyone who has concerns that a child is being sexually abused, or has been a victim themselves, no matter how long ago, to come forward.

“It’s never too late to report a crime and you are helping us to put these dangerous perpetrators in prison.”

 
 
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