A married boxing coach turned pale as he was jailed for 12 months after allegedly telling an underage girl he could “pleasure her more than a boy.”
Graham Hebden, 49, bombarded the girl with messages that she was “fit,” “he loved her,” and recommended she “go on the pill.” He told her about his sex life with his wife.
He initially exchanged messages of support which turned to grooming offering her lifts and a day out to York because he knew her father could not take her. Despite being married, with two sons, Hebden sent messages encouraging the girl to perform sexual acts on her own.
Hebden, of West End Ulrome, near Driffield, rocked on his feet and lifted both arms in a shrug as he was jailed at Hull Crown Court for inciting sexual activity (Friday June 26). His family in the public gallery said “No chance!”
Judge Mark Bury said: “There was considerable grooming. It was behaviour over 10 months. I have also taken into account the public expect figures in positions of trust must behave in a professional and unscrupulous manner. You have fallen far from that gold standard. In her victim statement, the girl said it has made her feel dirty. She has been tearful and sought counselling, lost weight and suffered difficulties in her relationships with her family and boyfriend. Her father feels let down by you. Betrayal would be a more appropriate term.”
Crown barrister Caroline Wigin said Hebden sent messages including: “Don’t want to sound like a pervert or a paedophile, but you’re looking fit.”
Another asked: “Are we going to have a day in York before you go back to school?” One said “Love you to bits.”
Hebden made comment about his lack of hugs and told her: “That’s two you owe me.” He sent her a picture of a woman with a “large number of sausages in her mouth” and made reference to a banana in her mouth.
Miss Wigin said Hebden sent the message he was: “Seeing the girl in his dreams.” And said sex “is not boring”. She said the girl’s mother claimed Hebden had told her daughter: “He could pleasure her more than any boy could,” but there was no email or text message which supported this.
Hebden accepted in interview that he had attended a child protection course, but forgotten what that taught him, “and over stepped the mark”.
Defence barrister Richard Thompson said: “Mr Hebden accepts his behaviour was unacceptable towards the complainant and understands the further repercussions it has had on her and her family. There is no suggestion he wanted sexual activity with the complainant. The girl said she felt let down by him. But also said some of the conversations were helpful to her. She liked having someone to talk to about her personal problems other than family and friends. The opportunity he had to coach, not just boxing, but football has been taken from him for many years. He has thrown away the trust of his wife and abused the trust of his family. He has two sons, one who suffers from ill health and a serious heart condition. The court proceedings have not assisted his problems.”
Judge Mark Bury told Hebden: “It seems to me, you over a period of time, you developed an unhealthy attraction and gained some sexual gratification from it. You sent her many messages of a sexual nature by text and Facebook.
“You sent her sexual messages about what she should do with her boyfriend. You advised her about being on the pill. It was totally inappropriate and nothing to do with you.”
“It was totally unacceptable behaviour. There was considerable grooming. This was not an isolated incident.”