25/09/2015

Man Found To Be Grooming Young Girls Jailed

A 48-year-old man has pleaded guilty to eight offences of grooming young girls for sexual purposes.

Ian Alexander, of Rowland Way, Ashford, Middlesex, was sentenced to a total of three years and five months in prison, and made the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order, at Isleworth Crown Court on Wednesday, 23 September.

The court heard how, in May 2012, the defendant had been convicted of possessing prohibited images of children and made subject to a Sexual Offences Prevention Order, which placed strict prohibitions on his contact with young people and his use of computer equipment.

However, in 2013 a 13-year-old girl received a friend request on Facebook. The request apparently came from a 15-year-old boy called Daniel. In fact, the request came from Alexander.

Alexander made repeated attempts to meet with the girl and travelled from his home in Ashford to Feltham Park to meet her on 21 March 2014.

However, the girl took friends with her and while at the park received a message from Alexander (who was still using the name Daniel) saying that he could see her.

One of her friends became concerned about this and decided to call the police and tell them what was happening. Officers attended and searched the park for the person but did not find him. Police then began an investigation to find out who the person purporting to be Daniel really was.

Examination of the young girl's phone revealed that Alexander had been grooming her for sexual purposes. Investigations into the phone he was using and the Facebook account led to an address being identified. On Friday, 4 July 2014, detectives from Hounslow went to Alexander's house in Ashford and arrested him.

A search of the house recovered three phones that Alexander had used to contact the young girl, as well as a computer he had used for similar purposes.

The phones showed that Alexander had also been contacting other young girls. He contacted one teenage girl pretending to be a boy called James who was aged 15. Again, Alexander tried to manipulate the young girl into meeting him, even telling her that James had died and he (Alexander) was James' father and wanted to meet her.

During the search police also took away Alexander's computer for examination. Communications found on the phones and computers were of a sexually explicit nature and provided further evidence of six breaches of his Sexual Offences Prevention Order. One of the people he was contacting appeared to be a nine-year-old girl.

Alexander was charged on 9 February 2015 with offences of sexual grooming and breaching his Sexual Offences Prevention Order.

Detective Sergeant Martin Siertsema of Hounslow CID, said: "Ian Alexander, who was already a registered sex offender, used social networking, messenger services and also text messages to contact and groom young girls for sexual purposes. He was cunning, cruel and deceitful and is a danger to young people.

"Alexander travelled to a park to meet one 13-year-old, but thankfully a friend realised the danger posed by this man, called police and took her home.

"Parents need to be very wary of the risks posed by social media and speak to their children about who they might be communicating with. If you have any concerns, call the police."

In passing sentence, His Honour Judge Marron said: "You targeted by many and varied deceptions... a determined and prolonged period of offending... within a background of breaches of sexual prevention orders."

(MH/JP)

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