Predator sent abuse pictures of 14-year-old girl

The High Court in Edinburgh. Picture: Bill Henry

The High Court in Edinburgh. Picture: Bill Henry

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An internet predator secretly stayed in a schoolgirl’s bedroom before sending graphic pictures and videos of his abuse of the victim to others.

Mark Fordham originally posed as a teenage boy on an online chatroom where he got in contact with the underage girl.

She said she was a 14-year-old schoolgirl and Fordham, 43, told her that he found her “sexy”.

Fordham initially met the girl in the centre of Edinburgh and conceded his true age. He tried to kiss her but she pushed him away.

They continued to communicate and met up and he gave her a card for her 14th birthday entitled “to my very special girlfriend on your birthday”.

Unemployed Fordham, who came from the Cambridge area, had moved to Edinburgh last year and offered to buy the girl anything she wanted and on one occasion insisted she take £30 from him.

Fordham, of no fixed abode, began abusing the girl and took her to the address of his former partner in the city where he had sex with her.

He claimed the girl was a relative who had nowhere to go. His ex-partner felt uneasy about what was going on and asked him to leave, but he ignored her.

When she left the flat the following day she hid an MP3 player in a shoe and put it on record. She listened to the recording that night and heard groaning noises.

Advocate depute Jane Farquharson told the High Court in Edinburgh: “In the course of the recording the accused was heard to say to the victim something about losing her virginity.”

The woman confronted Fordham and the girl about what she had heard but they denied it was them. She asked them to leave the flat.

The girl revealed to friends that she had sneaked Fordham into her bedroom at her home in West Lothian.

The prosecutor said: “He was staying there unbeknownst to the victim’s father or his girlfriend.” She added he did not live there continuously over the period.

One friend of the girl found him hiding behind a wardrobe in her bedroom after the family dog betrayed his presence.

Fordham’s involvement with the girl ended in November last year, but in contacting her through an online app he pleaded with her to take him back and told her; “U ken how much I love your wee body.”

In December last year the girl was due to spend the night with grandparents and her father and grandmother went into her bedroom, which they normally never entered, where they spotted a bag with men’s clothing. Her father pulled a suitcase out of a wardrobe containing papers and other items belonging to Fordham.

The girl revealed to her grandfather that she had met Fordham through a chat room on an app that she had downloaded and police were contacted.

When Fordham was detained his phone was seized and videos found on it revealed some of his sexual abuse of the girl.

In the days before his arrest he was found to have been sharing images with others through messaging services, one of whom had contacted him asking to “trade yng girl pix” Fordham sent him pictures of sex acts.

Fordham admitted breaching child protection legislation and sexually abusing the underage girl between July and November last year.and making indecent photos. he also pled guilty to distributing indecent photos of a child in December.

Fordham, who appeared in court with the aid of crutches, was placed on the sex offenders’s register by judge Lord Bannatyne, who remanded him in custody for the preparation of a background report ahead of sentencing next month.