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Sittingbourne man jailed after attempting to groom 'child' to carry out sexual offences


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A Sittingbourne man has been jailed after using social media apps in attempts to groom what he thought was child.

Michael Smith repeatedly sent indecent images and videos of himself to another user, who he believed was only 13.

Michael Smith, from Sittingbourne, used social media apps in attempts to groom child. Picture: Kent Police
Michael Smith, from Sittingbourne, used social media apps in attempts to groom child. Picture: Kent Police

Smith pleaded guilty at Maidstone Crown Court and was sentenced to three-years-and-six months’ imprisonment this week. Jan 10

He was also given two weeks' custody for breaching his bail conditions and was placed on the sex offenders’ register indefinitely, and made subject of a sexual harm prevention order.

He was arrested at his home in Canterbury Road, on Wednesday April 15, last year.

The 54-year-old had contacted what he thought was a 13-year-old through apps in 2020, between March 10 and April 15.

Smith made repeated attempts to entice 'the girl' into sexual activity despite her stating she was a child and at school.

Using a false image of a teenage boy, Smith used his online account to instigate long explicit conversations, urging the child to send him indecent images and engage in sexual activity.

During police interviews, he admitted responsibility for the online activity but said he did not know he was talking to a child, as his judgement was impaired due to cocaine use.

Detective Sergeant Shona Ross, of the paedophile online investigation team, said: "Smith made persistent and repeated efforts to contact a child for the purposes of his own gratification.

"He has displayed a clear desire to sexually abuse a child and the graphic detail and demands he included in his messages were hugely concerning.

"This case also acts as a reminder to parents of children who have mobile phones and tablets to speak to them and help them understand the precautions they should take when using the internet, or the many instant messaging services that are available.

"He has displayed a clear desire to sexually abuse a child and the graphic detail and demands he included in his messages were hugely concerning..."

"Children should only communicate with people that they know personally and report any suspicions or inappropriate advances from strangers to their parents, schools or the police."

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