Co-op worker jailed for grooming teenage schoolgirl into having sex by buying her gifts

30 May 2022, 20:48

Ellee Nicoll, a shop worker at a Swindon Co-Op, was jailed after she groomed a teenage girl into a sexual relationship.
Ellee Nicoll, a shop worker at a Swindon Co-Op, was jailed after she groomed a teenage girl into a sexual relationship. Picture: Wiltshire Police

By Sophie Barnett

A Co-op worker in Swindon who groomed a teenage schoolgirl into having sex by calling her "pretty" and buying her gifts has been jailed for over two years.

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Ellee Nicoll, 25, bought the schoolgirl presents, gave her money, called her “pretty” and paid the teenager other compliments before they engaged in sexual activity.

Swindon Crown Court heard Nicoll engaged in months of sexting with the teenager and "cultivated" the relationship.

Nicoll put on a "lesbian film" with the underage girl to "normalise" what she wanted to happen, jurors heard.

The truth emerged when the young girl's mother became concerned at how close the pair were becoming and described to the teenager what grooming entailed, the Swindon Advertiser reported.

It apparently led the youngster to feeling "sick" to her stomach, the court heard.

Sentencing Nicoll to two years and two months in prison, Judge Jason Taylor QC said that “alarm bells should have been ringing loud and clear in your mind, but you were seemingly tone death”.

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He acknowledged the victim’s mental health struggles and said that Nicoll “must have realised” what her grooming meant to her.

Prosecutor Andrew Houston said that Nicoll initially became friends with the girl, who looked up to her like a "big sister".

He said the relationship quickly changed, however, with the victim making the first move to turn the conversation to sexting - sending naked pictures and others wearing only underwear.

Prosecutors claimed that Nicoll sent pictures back, although this was disputed by her defence.

Mr Houston said that Nicoll's mother had warned her to stay away from the schoolgirl, but she ignored the warnings.

The victim's mother offered Nicoll a place to stay one night when she had a family disagreement. Not realising the closeness of the girls, she let them share a bed.

The court heard that they watched “a lesbian film in bed, they then agreed to do stuff to each other”.

In the following days, Nicoll described it as “the best night of her life”, and the victim said she had “no regrets”.

Nicoll's offending was "out of character" and has “had a devastating effect on her already”, her lawyer Gareth James said.

“She does seem to be a defendant who can properly and accurately be described as a vulnerable defendant herself and perhaps immature, and perhaps didn’t think through the consequences of her actions, having effectively fallen for feelings she shouldn’t have had,” Mr James said.

He added that the incident has had a “significant adverse impact” on his client’s mental health

Having pleaded guilty to sexual activity with a child and sexual communication with a child, Nicoll, of Concord Walk, Walcot, was jailed for two years and two months.

Sentencing, Judge Taylor acknowledged that Nicoll “did not set out” to groom the girl.

“When she sent you naked images of herself, the appropriate thing to do was gently say ‘it is not appropriate’. You didn’t," he said.

“You had become so desensitised from her age it didn’t give you pause for thought in the cold hard light of day.

“’No regrets’ for [the victim] turned to embarrassment, and by the time she was interviewed by police, she felt sick.

“Sometimes teenagers just need to be protected from themselves.”

A sexual harm prevention order was made for 10 years, as was a restraining order preventing her from contacting the victim.

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