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28 March 2015, 08:09
A St Albans paedophile has been given an extra 3 years in jail after smuggling a letter to a 15 year old girl.
Michael Jerome was an inmate in the specialist sex offender prison, HMP Bure in Norfolk, when he sent a letter to a 15-year-old girl asking her to send him a photograph.
Prosecutors told Norwich Crown Court that the 33-year-old, originally from St Albans had served three other custodial sentences for sex offences dating back to 1999.
These included indecent assault against teenage girls, gross indecency with a child and possessing indecent images of children and extreme pornography.
At the time of the offence in October last year, he was serving a sentence for an earlier offence of sending a letter to a 12-year-old girl when banned from doing so and was subject to a fresh ban under a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO).
But prosecutor Christopher Youell told the court he had spotted a photograph of girls at a school event in the Eastern Daily Press newspaper and made a note of their names before searching out their addresses.
He added: "He was in prison so his opportunities to have contact with under-16s were limited.
"Nonetheless, it would appear he had found out from reading the newspaper about a school event. It named various under-age girls and there were photographs.
"He seems to have taken a shine to them. In one case he was successful in getting a letter out using prison paper.
"It is difficult to imagine a more blatant and deliberate breach of such an order.''
Jerome's behaviour was supposed to have been monitored by prison staff and a Norfolk Police officer, the court heard. But the case only came to light when the girl's father contacted police.
Speaking outside court, he described it as "every parent's worst nightmare''.
He added: "I was really shocked, I didn't quite know what to do initially, when my wife got it she did ring Norfolk Police because that would be anybody's first reaction.
"They told her that it's not anything to do with them and we should ring the prison, which we did. They took a little interest, and asked us to bring the letter in.''
In the letter Jerome called the girl "Hun'' and asked if she liked "meeting new people and making new friends''.
He continued: "If possible when you write back could you send me a photograph - I bet you have a cute smile.''
This letter is signed off with three kisses and giving his address as HMP Bure.
When Jerome's cell was searched, several other letters were found along with a phone book which he had used to look up addresses.
Jerome pleaded guilty to breaching the SOPO and an attempted breach.
Representing himself, he said: "I'm sorry for what I've done. I know I need help to stop me doing these offences in future.''
Asked if he was receiving any help in HMP Bure - which is dedicated to holding and rehabilitating sex offenders - he replied: "None at the moment.''
Recorder David Pugh sentenced him to an additional three years in prison.
He said: "It is difficult to imagine what that girl must have thought and the fear and concern that it must have caused her and her parents.''