In a distressing case of online grooming and sexual abuse, 25-year-old Bradley O’Hanlon from Leeds has been sentenced to four years and ten months in prison. The conviction follows an investigation conducted by specialist safeguarding officers in Leeds.

O’Hanlon pleaded guilty to ten counts of sexual activity with a 14-year-old child and offences related to indecent images. His sentencing took place on Friday, May 26th, at Leeds Crown Court, after he had admitted to his crimes earlier this year on April 19th.

The shocking offences came to light in November 2021 when the victim bravely disclosed her relationship with an older male. Concerns arose after certain messages were discovered on her phone. Subsequently, O’Hanlon was arrested but remained silent during his police interviews, refusing to answer any questions put forth by the authorities.

As the investigation progressed, police analysed O’Hanlon’s phone and uncovered numerous sexually explicit videos and photos, which were found to involve another young female. This discovery led officers from the Leeds District Safeguarding Unit to work closely with the Crown Prosecution Service, resulting in multiple charges against O’Hanlon.

Evidence presented during the trial highlighted that O’Hanlon had deliberately groomed the victim in a gradual manner, initially showing attention and friendship before gradually escalating to multiple sexual acts. The disturbing nature of the abuse inflicted upon the vulnerable young girl had a profound and traumatic impact on her life, as emphasised in her Victim Impact Statement, which was read out in court.

Detective Inspector Mark Tester, leading the Leeds District Safeguarding Unit, expressed his thoughts on the case, stating, “O’Hanlon was responsible for cynically grooming this vulnerable young girl before committing an appalling and sustained catalogue of abuse against her, which has had a devastating traumatic effect on her life.”

The Victim Impact Statement also shed light on how O’Hanlon had exerted considerable pressure on the victim to keep their relationship a secret, further intensifying the emotional distress experienced not only by her but also by her entire family.

With the conclusion of the trial and the significant sentence imposed, it is hoped that the victim and her family can find some measure of reassurance. The outcome also serves as a message of deterrence to the wider community.

Detective Inspector Mark Tester emphasised the commitment of the Leeds District Safeguarding Unit to secure convictions against predatory offenders like O’Hanlon, stating, “Our specialist safeguarding officers will continue to do everything they can to secure convictions against predatory offenders like this to get justice for victims and protect others from harm.”

Bradley O’Hanlon has now been placed on the Sex Offenders Register and issued with a Sexual Harm Prevention Order.