A CHILD abuser has been jailed after he groomed a 14-year-old schoolgirl through text messages before luring him to his home.

Matthew Milton offered the girl drugs and paid money into her bank account after three sessions at his home in South Devon at which he kissed or took part in sexual acts with her.

The abuse came to light when her family became suspicious of money being paid into her account and an image of Milton’s genitals was found on her phone. A half-naked image of the girl was recovered from his mobile.

She wrote a victim impact statement which said told of the psychological effect of his grooming and abuse and said ‘I was taken advantage of by a much older man’.

She told police that Milton had offered her a class A drug but she had refused because it ‘tasted toxic’.

Milton, aged 38, now of no fixed address, admitted three counts of sexual activity with a child, one of inciting it, sexual communications with a child and possessing an indecent image of a child.

He was jailed for four years and put on the sex offenders’ register for life by Judge Robert Linford at Exeter Crown Court, who also imposed a ten year Sexual Harm Prevention Order which restricts his future contact with children and enables the police to monitor his online activity.

The judge told him: 'You cultivated, nurtured and exploited a wholly inappropriate relationship with a 14-year-old girl. Your messages changed from appropriate and legitimate to completely inappropriate.

'You exchanged sexual messages and indecent photographs, and invited her to your home on three occasions.

'You took drugs and accept that you offered her drugs, but you say she did not take them. You were also under the influence of alcohol.

'You paid significant sums into her bank account and three transfers were found when the mobile phones were examined and the messages found.

'You have a background of mental health issues and have expressed appropriate shame and pleaded guilty. This was child abuse, pure and simple.'

Miss Heather Hope, prosecuting, said the activity started with messages in March 2021 and led to three visits by the girl to Milton’s home. They kissed on the first two occasions and took part in sexual acts which did not amount to full intercourse on the second.

He paid money into the girl’s bank account which was noticed by her parents. She said it was given to her to buy nice clothes and things but her father was suspicious and the truth emerged.

Miss Emily Pitts, defending, said Milton has mental health issues and was using drugs and drinking at the time and now realises that his behaviour was utterly wrong and is ashamed. He wants a chance to address the underlying causes of his behaviour.