Bridgwater man jailed for grooming and sexually abusing 15-year-old girl

David Pearce abused the girl in the early 2000s Credit: Avon and Somerset Police

A man from Bridgwater has been jailed after grooming a 15-year-old girl, sending her text messages and gifts before sexually abusing her.

David Pearce, 64, of Chilton Polden, was sentenced at Taunton Crown Court on January 10 after being found guilty of two counts of non-recent sexual activity with a child.

He was handed two custodial terms of five years and eight years, to be served concurrently.

During the trial, the court heard Pearce groomed his 15-year-old victim in the early 2000s. He sent her text messages and gifts over many weeks before sexually abusing her.

The victim was threatened by Pearce and told to keep the abuse a secret, but she contacted police in 2019.

Investigating officer DC Harvey Ahern said: “I hope this conviction serves to demonstrate our ongoing commitment to seeking justice for victims of rape and sexual assault, no matter how long ago the incident took place.

“Every report we receive will always be investigated thoroughly.

“I wish to thank the victim and witnesses who came forward to support the investigation for their bravery and for their trust in our service.”

If you have been a victim of sexual assault, whether recent or non-recent, you can report it to Avon and Somerset Police on 101.

Alternatively, you can self-refer to The Bridge, a Sexual Assault Referral Centre available 24/7 365 days a year.