Child abuser jailed after sleeping with girl more than 30 years younger than him

JAILED: Michael Spriggs

SENTENCED: Michael Spriggs following an earlier hearing

First published in News by , T&A Reporter

A CONVICTED child abuser has been jailed for having sex with a teenage girl more than 30 years his junior and beating her up when she left him for a younger man.

Michael Spriggs, 59, grabbed his victim round the throat and banged her head on a wall when he read text messages revealing she was seeing someone her own age, Bradford Crown Court heard.

Her injuries included scratches on her neck and clumps of hair pulled out.

Spriggs was locked up for three years and four months after pleading guilty to sexual activity with a child and causing her actual bodily harm.

In 1990, Spriggs, of Compton Street, Dudley Hill, Bradford, was imprisoned for seven years for having sex with a different girl, under 13 years of age, indecently assaulting her and gross indecency.

Prosecutor Philip Standfast told the court yesterday that the later abuse was consensual, with Spriggs more than 30 years older than the teenager.

"There was some element of grooming and a significant disparity in age," Mr Standfast said.

Kitty Taylor, barrister for Spriggs, said the abuse lasted 18 months and ended when the girl moved on after meeting a much younger man.

Spriggs was arrested in July 2011 and spent two years on police bail, facing false allegations of rape.

They were dropped only recently by the Crown Prosecution Service, and the waiting had a big impact on the defendant.

Judge John Potter told Spriggs: "You are 59 years of age. You have previous convictions, Mr Spriggs, which the law tells me I must take into account when sentencing you for these proceedings."

Judge Potter said Spriggs was in an unlawful relationship with the girl over 18 months.

It ended in violence when he saw text traffic on her phone and pushed her against a wall.

The judge ordered Spriggs to sign on the sex offender register for an unlimited time and he made a Sexual Offences Prevention Order banning him from contacting his victim.

After the case, Detective Constable Ellen Allen, of the Bradford District Safeguarding Unit, said: "Spriggs took advantage of his victim's young age and vulnerability to carry out these offences.

"This must have very distressing for her and we would like to thank her for reporting his crimes to the police.

"We hope that today's sentence will give her some comfort and that it will encourage other victims to come forward and speak to our specially trained officers, who will investigate all reports of sexual abuse thoroughly and sensitively, with the intention of bringing the offenders to justice."

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