'Predator' jailed for grooming and abuse

Andrew Jennings in the dock at the Dunedin District Court yesterday. Photo by staff photographer.
Andrew Jennings in the dock at the Dunedin District Court yesterday. Photo by staff photographer.
A Palmerston man who ''groomed'' and sexually violated a young girl over two years will be in jail for less than a decade, but his victim faces a lifetime inside her own prison, Judge Kevin Phillips says.

He sentenced 35-year-old Andrew George Jennings in the Dunedin District Court yesterday to nine years and nine months' jail after Jennings had earlier admitted 45 charges in relation to offending at Palmerston between February 2011 and June last year.

He admitted six counts of sexually violating the girl, five of doing an indecent act on her, three of making objectionable recordings and 31 of possessing objectionable publications.

Judge Phillips said Jennings was a ''predator'' and his ''horrendous'' offending involved ''significant and ongoing premeditation''.

''Once you got her trust, you victimised her, she was used by you to sexually arouse you and for you to be able to indulge in sexual fantasies. She's thought every day what occurred to her was her fault, not your fault, and she's in prison (in that respect) for the rest of her life,'' Judge Phillips said.

''One can only wonder what impact this will have on this victim throughout her life,'' he said.

Jennings met the girl when she was aged 9 and began offending against her when she was 11.

He gained her trust and that of her parents and was considered part of their family.

Jennings often babysat the girl and took her to and from school.

She sometimes stayed overnight at his house.

The offending occurred at Jennings' home and his victim's.

''If she didn't comply, you would get angry and make her feel that she was in the wrong. You are more than 20 years older than the victim and she was totally vulnerable,'' Judge Phillips told Jennings.

Last May, when the victim was 13, she told her parents about the offending.

Police found in Jennings' possession three video recordings he had made, outlining some of the sexual acts between him and the victim.

Also at his home were 37 pornographic DVDs and about 580 pornographic magazines displaying images which were in breach of the censorship standard in New Zealand and had been brought into the country illegally.

Jennings also had more than 100,000 objectionable images stored on his computers, many of which depicted young children, toddlers and babies.

''Numerous'' CDs recovered from Jennings' house showed thousands of similar images, the police summary of facts stated.

The material was at the most serious level of offending in accordance with the Videos, Films, Publications Classifications Act 1993, Judge Phillips said.

Jennings also had a diary containing a handwritten list of 76 websites, of which 38 had titles suggesting sexual content relating to urinating and defecating.

''A large number of web addresses were accessed by the defendant, pointing to pictures of naked children, and keyword searches suggest the defendant is actively seeking pictures of naked young girls,'' the summary stated.

Judge Phillips said Jennings did not fathom the seriousness of his offending.

''You minimised it and put it down to overstepping the line. Your risk of reoffending is high as you have an inability to see the harm your offending causes.

''The harm is high, the overall scale of offending is high and the breach of trust couldn't be any higher,'' Judge Phillips said.

He ordered destruction of all seized equipment, applications and images, including magazines, in relation to the case.