Derbyshire prison officer faces ‘terrifying’ jail sentence for online grooming

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A Derbyshire prison officer who told what he thought was a 14-year-old girl he wanted to have rough sex with her at a hotel now faces a “terrifying” jail sentence, a court has heard.

Andrew Marriott used an alias and pretended to be seven years younger when he began chatting with a police decoy on the Chatiw and Kick platforms, on January 30, said Thomas Welshman, prosecuting.

After the decoy claimed to be aged 14 Marriott “immediately sexualised” the conversation, asked what she was wearing and said: “I would like to push you up against the wall kissing your neck.”

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He encouraged the decoy to perform sexual acts, talked about meeting at a hotel and asked her if she wanted to have sex with him.

Andrew Marriott.Andrew Marriott.
Andrew Marriott.

When they talked over the phone, Marriott, aged 44, said: “You are not yet 16 so this chat is illegal.” He said he needed to teach her how to perform sexual acts and asked for a picture of her in school uniform. The conversation ended on February 2 and he was arrested 17 days later.

Stephen Kemp, mitigating, said: “He was remanded in custody since his arrest. Within hours of him being incarcerated it became known he was a prison officer. Every day for him is terrifying. He has been recognised by inmates with whom he has had dealings. He fears payback.”

Marriott, of Brackenfield View, Wessington, Alfreton, admitted sexual communication with a child and three counts of attempting to incite sexual behaviour with a child at a previous hearing.

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At Nottingham Crown Court on Wednesday, Judge Julie Warburton jailed him for two years and eight months and imposed a lifetime sexual harm prevention order.

“No actual harm was caused, it wasn't persistent and it wasn't over a long period of time,” said Mr Kemp. “It is clearly out of character. He has no previous convictions or cautions. He is of positive good character. He served in army for five years and in the prison service for 14 years. It is clear he worked hard. He was promoted and well thought off. He resigned shortly after his arrest.”

Mr Kemp said Marriott’s references talked about “his strong moral compass and respect for the law… Which makes it all the more shocking and inexplicable why he behaved in this way.”