[A] 19-year-old has been sentenced to 14 years (30 July) after being convicted of a series of sexual offences against children, including rape.
On 19 March 2018, Nicholas Bell, of Wyndham Row, Broughton Moor, Maryport, was convicted of the following offences:
- One count of rape
- Six counts of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity
- One count of assault by penetration
- One count of possession of a bladed article
- One count of common assault
Bell was 17 at the time of the offences.
When interviewed by police, Bell denied all offences but was convicted of 12 offences following a trial.
Detective Constable Hayley Carson said: “During the investigation, Bell showed a pattern of predatory behaviour whereby he approached young, under-age girls and attempted to engage them in sexual activity.
“Some of these girls he already knew were under-age whilst others were upfront in telling him they were children. This did not stop Bell from pursuing them by phone, social media and in person.
“Sadly, as this case illustrates, there are people out there who will seek to use social media applications such as Snapchat to contact children in an attempt to engage them in sexual activity. I hope this case helps to highlight the importance of adults speaking frankly with children about such dangers so that the Nicholas Bells of this world find such offending far more difficult.
“I’d like to thank the young girls who came forward to speak to us about Bell’s actions for the bravery and courage they showed and urge anyone who has suffered such offending to contact us immediately. You will be listened to and we will work to bring those responsible to justice.”
Bell will be on the sex offenders’ register for life.
Detective Sergeant Katie Rickerby said: “This has been a lengthy and complex investigation and I would like to thank the officers involved for their diligence and professionalism which has resulted in Bell being brought to justice for his crimes.
“Throughout the investigation we have worked closely with Children’s services, local schools, the NHS and the Independent Sexual Violence Advisers, they have helped us to support and safeguard these vulnerable children within our community.
“This should send out a strong message that such offences against children will be thoroughly investigated and, where proved, the offender can expect a significant sentence from the courts.”
Bell was given a 14-year extended sentence – a nine-year custodial and extended license of five years, making a total extended sentence of 14 years.