A kebab shop owner who groomed a vulnerable underage girl has been caged for six and a half years.
Kashif Gul, 39, who lived above his takeaway on Foxhall Road, Blackpool, was found guilty of two charges of gross indecency against a youngster dating back more than a decade.
Jurors previously heard he had bought a ring and clothes for the youngster who was 12 years his junior, after befriending her through her mother.
He went onto to commit acts against the victim, who cannot be identified for legal reasons.
In a harrowing victim impact statement she said: “He knew I had few friends.
“He knew I was shy, sweet and young and an easy catch for him.”
Prosecuting, Andrew Ford said: “There was plain evidence he groomed her by giving her drink and cannabis, going around topless. The court remarked that the victim in this case had suffered warped moral guidance by her mother and the defendant saw and exploited the chance given to him. The mother was not providing proper parenting.”
The court heard on the second occasion Gul had attended her home with a DVD of himself bodybuilding and gone to her room with a bottle of Jack Daniels and a bottle of Coke.
He told her he had ‘just used her for sex’ the first time but now thought she was quite a nice girl.
Mr Ford added: “She went to get some glasses and when she returned he was cross legged with his shirt off, and cajoled and groomed her.”
Defending, Brendan O’Leary said: “He does continue to deny the offence and accepts no responsibility.”
Judge Sara Dodd, sentencing him at Preston’s Sessions House court, said his victim had felt ‘trapped’ during each incident.
She added: “I have no doubt at all you saw her as an easy target. Unexpectedly you turned up at her home. She was painting your nails and you stroked her hand. She thought you were interested in her.
“There has been serious psychological harm.”
The judge said she was concerned the author of Gul’s pre sentence report had indicated he had a negative attitude towards women.
Gul, sporting a beard and a maroon sweater, appeared to begin to cry when his Urdu interpreter told him of his sentence.
The Afghanistan-born defendant lost his parents at a young age and was brought up in Pakistan.
He was in Britain legally but could now face deportation at the end of his sentence when immigration officials review his case.
He will be on the Sex Offender’s Register for life.
The court heard the victim was now a married mum in a stable relationship.
She had confided in police about Gul when they knocked on her door during an unrelated investigation.
Gul was investigated by the same team of officers probing the disappearance of schoolgirl Charlene Downes, who have widened the scope of the investigation to the broader problem of child sexual exploitation in the resort, though officers have stressed he has no link to her inquiry.
Det Insp Andy Bunn, of Lancashire Police, said: “I welcome the sentence imposed today which shows that the justice system takes these offences extremely seriously no matter the passage of time since they were committed.
“We will continue to not only focus on the disappearance and murder of Charlene as part of our investigation, but on the wider issue of child sexual exploitation in Blackpool and I would encourage anyone who experienced abuse to come forward and speak to us.
“We will listen to victims and support them as well as bring offenders to justice.”
Charlene was 14 when she was last seen in Blackpool on Saturday November 1, 2003. A £100,000 reward remains on offer for information leading to the conviction of her killer or killers or the recovery of her body. Nobody has ever been brought to justice.