Rapist took schoolgirl from Sunderland after grooming her online

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A MAN has been jailed for 10 years for raping a 12-year-old girl he met online.

John Astley, 34, groomed the girl before taking her away from her home and raping her in a car park, Sussex Police said.

Astley met up with the girl twice in Sunderland before travelling from his home town of Bolton to West Sussex, and taking her to a retail park in Havant, Hampshire, where he raped her, a force spokesman said.

As Astley drove her home late at night, the girl’s family discovered she was missing and called the police.

Astley, of Wyndham Avenue, Bolton, was arrested nearby and officers found indecent images of the victim stored on his mobile phone.

He pleaded guilty to rape and admitted causing a child to engage in pornography when he appeared at Hove Crown Court on Monday, the police spokesman said.

Astley was ordered to sign the sex offenders register and is the subject of an indefinite Sexual Offences Prevention Order, which will restrict his access to children.

Detective Constable David Midgley, of Sussex Police said: “This was a particularly nasty case, with Astley taking advantage of a young, vulnerable girl.

“The sentence imposed reflects the tough stance the justice system takes against people who commit offences against those that are vulnerable.

“Even when Astley is released from prison, the Sexual Offences Prevention Order imposed by the court will ensure he remains closely supervised.”