A YOUNG woman has revealed how she was groomed and sexually abused at the age of 13 by her neighbour, who paid her to babysit his children.
Kara Jones was just 13 years old when her then 32-year-old neighbour Lee O’Shea hired her to babysit his children while he went to the gym.
But the babysitting job quickly turned sordid when O’Shea began having sex with Jones, calling himself her boyfriend.
The abuse would continue for four years until Lee was jailed for eight and a half years in August 2018.
The stay-at-home mum from Manchester told the Manchester Evening News: “When Lee hired me as his babysitter, I was so excited to earn some extra pocket money.
“My parents let me do it as they trusted Lee.
“He had been our neighbour for two years, and his kids were friends with my little sister.
“But instead, he groomed me and tricked me into thinking he was my boyfriend, when deep down, he was a sick paedophile.”
He groomed me and tricked me into thinking he was my boyfriend, when deep down, he was a sick paedophile.”
Kara described O’Shea as “shy” during her first week of babysitting.
She explained: “During my first week, whenever Lee came home from the gym, he seemed really shy.
“He avoided eye contact with me and mumbled goodbye as I left to go back home.”
But two weeks later, O’Shea invited Kara to stay for lunch, saying: “While the kids played upstairs, Lee chatted with me about school and boys.
“I enjoyed his company.
“After that, every time I babysat, he asked me to stay a couple of hours longer.
“Whenever my mum texted me asking where I was, I lied.
“I told her that Lee was still out and I was watching the kids.
“I knew that she wouldn’t approve, after all, he was nearly 20 years older than me.”
The grooming escalated when O’Shea began showering Kara with compliments and perfume and clothes.
Then the meeting between the pair became secret.
O’Shea asked Kara to come to his house in the evenings and on the weekends to see him.
Kara said she lied to her parents and told them she was still babysitting.
She recalled: “Lee called me beautiful all the time … He told me how any boy in my school would be lucky to have me.
“He surprised me with tops, dresses, perfume and necklaces … Lee made me feel so special.
Lee called me beautiful all the time … He told me how any boy in my school would be lucky to have me.”
“He began to undress me and whispered in my ear that he’d be gentle with me.
“Then, we had sex and I lost my virginity at age 13.
“Afterwards, Lee told me not to tell anyone because they’d never understand.”
Kara said she was convinced the pair were in love. O’Shea asked her to be his girlfriend.
But it wasn’t long before O’Shea became controlling, issuing demands that Kara wasn’t allowed to be around any men, including her dad.
She said: “Lee even forced me to play up at school so that I’d get sent home. Then he’d make me come over to have sex.”
Lee even forced me to play up at school so that I’d get sent home. Then he’d make me come over to have sex.”
The abuse continued for another three years until January 2016 when Kara’s father confronted O’Shea.
Kara said: “I heard a voice yelling and realised it was my dad.
“Lee quickly locked me in his living room cupboard.
“My dad saw my trainers, and heard me in the cupboard.
“He demanded Lee unlock it and dad marched me home.
“There, I confessed everything to him and mum.
“I told them Lee had been my boyfriend for four years.
“They were both mortified, and quickly called the police.”
After reading though her phone history that went back years, officers told Kara she was underage, and that Lee had taken advantage of her.
“Suddenly, I felt sick,” Kara remembered.
“I burst into tears, telling my parents that I thought I was in love.”
The following day, O’Shea was arrested.
In July 2018, he was found guilty of two counts of sexual activity with a child at Minshull Street Crown Court.
He was also charged with having an offensive weapon.
The offences landed him with a jail sentence of eight and a half years, as well as landing himself on the sex offenders’ register for life.
Kara has bravely waived her right to anonymity in a bid to help raise awareness of child grooming and to let other young girls to know that it isn’t their fault.
Kara says: “Now I’m older, I realise Lee was a predator.
“He tricked me and made me think he was my boyfriend, but he was really abusing me the whole time.”
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