A man has been jailed for nine years and a half after pleading guilty to sexual activity with a child.
Alan Starling, aged 47 of Chaldon Way, Coulsdon, Surrey was sentenced at Croydon Crown Court after pleading guilty to 12 counts of child abuse; (three counts of sexual activity with a child, three counts of causing or inciting a child under 13 to engage in a sexual activity, two counts of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, two counts of causing or inciting a child to engage in penetrative sexual activity and two counts of penetrative activity with a child).
He was also placed on the sex offenders register for life.
The court heard how Starling befriended the victim's parents many years ago and over a long period of time groomed their son.
At the time the sexual abuse was discovered the young boy was 13-years-old.
On Saturday, 27 July 2018 police were notified that text messages had been found on a spare family phone that had been being used by the child. They suggested that sexual abuse had taken place.
The victim confirmed to officers that Starling had sexually abused him and he was told by him not to tell anyone
Starling was arrested on 27 July 2018 and gave a no comment interview, making a written statement denying the allegations. He was subsequently charged with rape.
Detective Constable Charlie Lourenco, investigating officer of South West Safeguarding Unit said: "The victim showed incredible courage to come forward and this conviction has ensured his voice was heard and action has been taken. The lengthy custodial sentence will serve to protect the public and help give encouragement to victims of similar crimes to come forward."
+ Starling was sentenced on 13 February.