Suspicious wife catches husband, 42, grooming 14-year-old schoolgirl after setting up spy camera because she thought he was cheating on HER
- Anthony Merrikin pleaded guilty to three offences of sexual activity with a child
- His wife set up a camera at his work after thinking he was cheating on her
- She discovered Merrikin engaging in sexual behaviour with 14-year-old girl
- Merrikin, 42, groomed the teenage girl and left her feeling ‘worthless and dirty’
- The builder, of Cleethorpes, has been jailed for six years and nine months
A husband, 42, was caught grooming and engaging in sexual behaviour with 14-year-old girl after his suspicious wife set up a secret camera in his office because she thought he was cheating on her.
Anthony Merrikin, of Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire, has been jailed for more than six years after pleading guilty to three offences of sexual activity with a child and one of causing a child to engage in sexual activity.
It was a ‘moment of madness’ that was completely wrong, Robert Underwood, mitigating, told Grimsby Crown Court.
Anthony Merrikin (pictured), 42, has been jailed for more than six years after pleading guilty to three offences of sexual activity with a child. He was caught engaging with sexual behaviour with a 14-year-old girl after his wife set up a camera at his work because she thought he was cheating
The school girl admitted feeling ‘worthless and dirty’ and trapped as she knew ‘what was happening with Tony was wrong’.
Jeremy Evans, prosecuting, said Merrikin groomed the teenage girl and there was sexual behaviour between them at the defendant’s work.
At the heart of the case, the builder ‘deceived his family’, Mr Evans added.
Merrikin’s wife, who thought she had a love rival, confronted him with an image from the footage and he immediately confessed.
The husband, formerly of Bentley Street, Cleethorpes, was jailed for six years and nine months.
He was given an indefinite sexual harm prevention order and must register as a sex offender indefinitely.
The husband immediately confessed after his wife confronted him with a screenshot image from the footage, Grimsby Crown Court heard (file image). His behaviour was ‘entirely wrong and inappropriate’ said Robert Underwood, mitigating
The victim told the court: ‘I am living in constant fear that something is going to happen.
I struggle to think about what has happened.
‘I cry a lot. It hurts a lot. I try not to think about Tony because it brings back bad memories. I still think about what happened every day.’
Merrikin had no previous convictions.
Robert Underwood, mitigating, said that Merrikin pleaded guilty at an early stage and had shown remorse.
His behaviour was ‘entirely wrong and inappropriate’.
The defendant said he set up Memory Mascots, a group which provided costumed characters at events, and raised over £30,000 for good causes.
He gave up work after the matters came to light and his house was due to be sold.
Mr Underwood said: ‘It was madness to become involved in these circumstances.’
Judge John Thackray QC told Merrikin: ‘These are very serious sexual offences against a child.’