A 19-YEAR-OLD Tetbury man convicted of sexually molesting under-age girls were given a brief taste of prison yesterday by being locked in the cells of Gloucester Crown Court – but then was set free by the judge.
Samuel Trinder of Romney Road, Tetbury, pleaded guilty to offences against two girls aged 14 and 15 in the Cirencester area between February 7 and March 22 last year.
The court was told Trinder was one of number of older boys showing an interest in younger girls outside the school gate.
Prosecutor Ian Fenny said: “A police community support officer told the teenage boys to move away from the area.
“However, she noticed that a girl from the school went off in the same direction as Trinder and she followed both of them until she came across a fight.
“The officer then had the opportunity to speak to the schoolgirl who started to described what had previously happened between her and Trinder.
“The second girl explained that Trinder had ‘taken a shine to her’ when he had lost interest in the first girl.
“She said that they exchanged text messages and he asked her for an intimate picture of herself.
The prosecutor added that his behaviour was targeting 14 and 15 year-old girls as he was having difficulty in former age appropriate relationships.
One girl said in her statement that she kept thinking the incident was her fault. She added that she began to suffer from anxiety and had to endure a number of counselling sessions.
Mr Fenny concluded: “The age gap between Trinder and the two girls is not as if it were a predator adult man targeting the girls of this age.”
Sarah Jenkins, defending said: “It was his lack of maturity that he accepted kissing the girls in interview and not the sexual activity.
“He felt he was still at the age of 14 or 15 himself compared to his actual age of 18 at the time the offences were committed.
“A period of 18 months has elapsed since he was charged and he had not repeated this behaviour.
“What he was trying to do was impress girls who were younger than him. The passage of time has seen him mature.
Judge Ian Lawrie QC said: “Trinder has a lot of maturing to do and a lot of lessons to learn.”
The judge sent him down to the cells to ‘dwell on his past sexual activity and to reflect on the victim statements’.
When the hearing resumed later in the day, Trinder said: “The last three hours have been awful. I didn’t like it one bit.”
The judge said that could be his future if he continued in the same manner that brought him to the court and added: “You have been lecherous and cavalier towards these two girls and thankfully they have been spared the ordeal of given evidence at a trial.
“There was an element of targeting these girls, but even at the age of 18 they were still very young.”
The judge sentenced Trinder to 20 months in prison, suspended for two years and ordered that he pay £500 towards court costs, a victim surcharge of £140.
He also made it a requirement for him to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work and complete 40 rehabilitation activity requirement days.
The judge also ordered that Tinder to be subject to a sexual harm prevention order for 10 years and he was also placed on the sex offenders register for 10 years.