"by January, the messages had become more indecent."
Kamir Khan, aged 31, of Rotherham, was jailed for four-and-a-half years for grooming and sexually assaulting an 11-year-old girl.
Sheffield Crown Court heard he initially messaged the girl on social media but later got access to her phone number and then started grooming her through text messages and phone calls.
He told her to store his number under a false name.
Ian Goldsack, prosecuting, said that on one occasion, Khan met the girl at a party and summoned her upstairs and touched her private parts.
In February 2019, during another face-to-face meeting, Khan touched the victim’s chest area.
Khan, a father, also sent her naked pictures of himself and of his private parts.
The child’s family became aware of the grooming when the girl started acting suspiciously with a phone. She later revealed what had been taking place in March 2019.
Mr Goldsack said: “Her mother had bought her a new iPhone because she had done well in her exams.
“A message came through from a cousin relating to an argument they’d had and she noticed that her daughter started to panic.
“Her brother started to look through the messages [which appeared to be from the cousin] and she confirmed that it had been the defendant that she had been in contact with.”
Police seized Khan’s phone and found over 4,000 messages between the two from January 16 to March 9, 2019.
In addition, they found numerous texts, many of which were of a sexual nature. The pair had first been in contact in August 2018.
Mr Goldsack explained: “He told her to store his number under someone else’s name and by January, the messages had become more indecent.
“He was telling her he loved her, was planning his future around her and wanted to marry her.
“She told him he was risking his life and of going to prison, and he replied that it was worth taking the risk.”
Mr Goldsack went on to say that Khan “sent her some images of himself in an undressed state” and had asked her for some pictures of her chest area, but “she had not been willing to do that and there had been an argument”.
The prosecutor continued: “He told her it gave him a hard-on and asked her if he could touch her ‘down there’, and she replied, ‘maybe in time’.
“He asked her when she would be ready and she replied that she was.”
Messages on Khan’s phone also revealed discussions about the two booking a hotel.
Khan pleaded guilty to two counts of assaulting a girl under 13 by touching, inciting a girl to engage in sexual activity and engaging in sexual communication with a child.
In a victim impact statement, the girl said she and her family had been ostracised by the local community who blamed her for what took place. As a result, the family had to move home.
She was told that she had brought shame on her family.
In mitigation, Catherine Silverton said: “The impact on his sentence will be exacerbated by the Covid pandemic and that he’s never been to prison before, and the impact it will have on the relationship with his children.”
Judge Sarah Wright told Khan: “This was not a relationship, this was child sexual exploitation which started when she was just 11.
“You groomed her by expressing your love for her, saying you wanted to marry her despite her own warnings to you.
“You made completely inappropriate comments, trying to get her used to having a sexual relationship with you.
“She is a child, a little girl and, quite unacceptably, she seems to be being blamed by others.”
The Star reported that Khan was jailed for four-and-a-half years. He was also placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register for life.
Investigating officer Rachel Scott said: “Khan preyed on his victim over a period of months, taking full advantage of her age, and her vulnerability.
“He manipulated her into thinking he was her boyfriend, and it was normal for him to send her such explicit messages.
“This girl has been incredibly strong throughout this inquiry and I couldn’t be prouder of how much she has assisted our investigation.
“I believe he [Khan] is a danger to children and I am pleased he is now behind bars.”