Horrified wife catches sex beast husband on secret spy camera grooming child
A horrified wife caught her husband grooming an underage schoolgirl after she set up a secret spy camera thinking he was having an affair.
Anthony Merrikin's wife thought he was involved with another adult, but was left sickened after discovering he was in fact having sexual contact with a 14-year-old child.
The 42-year-old Cleethorpes builder has been jailed for more than six years.
Prosecutor Jeremy Evans told Grimsby Crown Court that Merrikin groomed the schoolgirl before engaging in sex acts with her in his office.
His wife, suspecting his infidelity, hid a secret camera in the room. To her "shock and dismay", she watched back the footage which showed him with the child, GrimsbyLive reports.
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When she confronted him with evidence, he immediately confessed.
"At the heart of this, he deceived his family," Mr Evans told the court.
Merrikin, who had no prior convictions, called his offending a "moment of madness" and accepted it was wrong.
The 14-year-old victim said while she was being groomed by Merrikin she felt "worthless" and "dirty" and struggled with school.
"I felt horrible for deceiving my mother," she said.
"At the time this was happening with Tony, I felt trapped and scared. I know what was happening with Tony was wrong.
"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, who set up the Memory Mascots charity that provides costumed characters at events and was also involved with a marching band, stopped working after his offending came to light.
"These are very serious sexual offences against a child," Judge John Thackray QC told him.
Merrikin admitted three offences of sexual activity with a child and another of causing a child to engage in sexual activity.
He was jailed for six years and nine months. He has been given an indefinite sexual harm prevention order and must register as a sex offender indefinitely.
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