Harrogate sex offender jailed after using Snapchat to groom underage girl

A sex offender who groomed an underage teen girl on Snapchat has been jailed for over three years.

Friday, 11th June 2021, 12:11 pm
Updated Friday, 11th June 2021, 12:12 pm

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Stefan Antonio Slack, 27, contacted the girl on the social media site where he tried to entice her into meeting him for sex.

The Harrogate man was on a court order at the time designed to limit his contact with children following previous similar offences, York Crown Court heard.

Stefan Antonio Slack, 27, contacted the girl on Snapchat where he tried to entice her into meeting him for sex.

Prosecutor Mike Greenhalgh said the new offences occurred in October 2018 when Slack was 24 years of age.

Slack had “added” the girl on Snapchat and started messaging her after seeing a video that she and her friend had posted on the site.

Mr Greenhalgh said the sexually charged messages, sent over a couple of days, included one in which Slack told the teenager he wanted to meet her and her friend for “group sexual activity”.

He then asked to meet her on a specific day for sex. The message read: “Meet me Tuesday. Just me and you and maybe (the other named girl) if she’s game.”

Slack then told the girl in gratuitous sexual detail what he wanted to do to her. She duly blocked him on Snapchat and took a screenshot of the messages.

“She knew his age and he knew that she was (under-age),” said Mr Greenhalgh.

The girl showed her mother the screenshots and the matter was reported to police. Slack was arrested and brought in for questioning.

He told officers he knew that the girl was underage but “sought to excuse his behaviour, saying he was heavily in drink (at the time) and couldn’t recall sending the messages”, although he admitted it must have been him, added Mr Greenhalgh.

Slack, of Avenue Street, was charged with inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and breaching a sexual-harm prevention order by deliberately contacting an underage girl. He admitted both offences and appeared for sentence on Thursday.

The court heard that Slack received a suspended prison sentence in 2012 for a “very-similar” offence involving an 11-year-old girl. Slack was 17 at the time of that offence.

He also had previous convictions for supplying cannabis from 2015 and battery in 2019, which resulted in a community order which he breached twice.

Mr Greenhalgh said the new offence of inciting the girl into “penetrative” sexual activity involved a “degree of grooming, with messages that flatter her, which then escalate to sexual requests”.

Abbi Whelan, for Slack, said her client was immature but had “very much turned his life around” since the offences in 2018.

“At the time of these offences he was drinking heavily,” she added.

Recorder Dafydd Enoch QC said Slack had “developed an unhealthy interest in minors”.

He told Slack he had failed to take heed of the “warning shot” he had been given in 2012, when he received the suspended sentence and sexual-harm order.

“That order should have left you with no illusions that you would face prison if you were to commit these (kinds of) offences again,” said Mr Enoch.

“Once again…you allowed yourself to be tempted into communicating with (an underage) girl. You took complete advantage of that situation.

“Over two days, you flattered her, you groomed her, and that culminated in you making suggestions to her…that you wanted to have sex with her and her friend.”

Mr Enoch said Slack’s behaviour was “totally unacceptable” and “extremely serious conduct which could lead to much worse scenarios.”

Jailing Slack for three-and-a-half years, Mr Enoch said he had noted the “significant” age gap between the defendant and the girl.

Slack was also made subject to a new, five-year sexual-harm prevention order for the protection of children and will remain on the sex-offenders’ register for an indefinite period.