Gerard Morgan
Gerard Morgan has been jailed for the attempted rape of a 14-year-old girlMet Police

An attempted rapist described as "every parent's nightmare" has been jailed after he groomed and sexually assaulted a 14-year-old girl who thought he was her friend.

Gerard Morgan was jailed at Woolwich Crown Court for five years after he befriended and groomed the girl after she went into the shop where he worked to look at some of the baseball caps.

It was after the girl repeatedly returned to the shop that the 46-year-old, of Sandhurst Road in Catford, south-east London, started giving her lifts in his car.

In January 2013, Morgan took the victim to an address in Blackheath where he offered her a drink of orange juice. After taking the drink, the victim passed out and only awoke hours later with her clothes dishevelled. She told someone about the incident and police were alerted.

Morgan was arrested on 25 February 2013 and denied the allegations. However, analysis of his phones showed that he had made contact with the victim on hundreds of occasions in the short time they knew each other.

Morgan was subsequently charged in December 2013 and found guilty on Monday of attempted rape, sexual assault and grooming a child.

He was sentenced to five years for attempted rape, four years for grooming the girl and six months for sexual assalt. All sentences are to run concurrently.

"Every parent's nightmare"

Detective Constable Ken Tran of the Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse Command (SOECA) led the investigation. He said: "Gerard Morgan is a dangerous offender who exploited a very vulnerable child for his own sexual needs.

"The victim has shown courage in reporting Morgan, who has now been convicted and will go to prison for a long time, safeguarding other children. On release he will be monitored as a registered sex offender."

Detective Chief Inspector Pete Thomas, also of SOECA, said: "Gerard Morgan is every parent's nightmare, a sex offender who targets children and tries to beguile them with presents and compliments.

"I believe there will be other victims and I urge them to tell us about what has happened. I would also encourage anyone who has been a victim of sexual exploitation or grooming, or someone who may have information about offenders targeting children, to call us, so we can protect other children."