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Leicestershire Jail for 37year old man who pretended he was 15
September 24, 2012, 12:47 pm
A man has today (Monday September 24) been sentenced after pleading guilty to grooming, possession of indecent images of children and voyeurism offences, for crimes which spanned the country.
Craig McGuire, 37, from The Coppice in Narborough, had pleaded guilty to 18 offences at two earlier hearings at Birmingham Crown Court in April and May 2012.
He was sentenced at Birmingham Crown Court today (Monday September 24) to six years in prison.
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McGuire‘s activity first came to light in 2009, after he was arrested on suspicion of voyeurism. Police recovered mobile phones and computers from McGuires home address and he was subsequently charged with voyeurism and possession of indecent images of children.
In 2011 officers were contacted by another police force, which had been made aware of McGuire and his relationship with a young girl. Police again arrested McGuire and an interrogation of his computers and mobile phones revealed hundreds of indecent images of children and contact details for nearly 200 girls.
As the investigation progressed officers liaised with various online companies and found detailed correspondence between McGuire and four young girls, aged between 13 and 15-years-old.
McGuire had set up an online profile on various internet chat rooms, under the names of Steve, Chris, James and Grant. He described himself as a 15-year-old boy living at home with his father and used the image of a young man he had found on the internet.
McGuire struck up a relationship with the young girls, talking to them on a regular basis online and via text message. He also sent them gifts such as clothes, perfume, flowers and vouchers, before encouraging them to send him footage and images of themselves performing sex acts.
Detective Constable Louisa Letts, the investigating officer, said: “Craig thought he had covered his tracks well, ensuring that he didnt use his own name or image, but what he didnt realise was how adept police are at dealing with these kinds of crimes. This was an incredibly detailed investigation where officers spoke to young girls from across the country and found details for international youngsters also.
“Craig preyed on young and vulnerable girls in particular, who were of an impressionable age. He lured them into a false sense of security, grooming them so that they felt safe with him.
“The young girls we have spoken to as part of this investigation have been incredibly brave. For the purpose of the investigation they have had to relive and discuss issues of an extremely personal nature and their bravery has helped us to ensure that this man received a lengthy prison sentence.”
Police are warning parents and youngsters to be more aware of the people they speak to online and are running an online aMeeting on Monday October 8, to offer advice.
Detective Sergeant Ed Jones, an officer from the Forces Paedophile and Online Investigation Unit, said: “Its extremely important that parents take an active interest in what and who their children are corresponding with online and to educate them about the dangers of speaking to people they do not know.
“There is no way of knowing 100 per cent that the person you are talking to is who they say they are, and that is extremely important to remember. Its quite easy to create a misleading online profile, recorded web cam footage, images and details of others from the internet are easily accessible. Try to encourage your children to make friends with only people they already know, like friends through school or family members.
“Its also worth remembering that anything streamed via a webcam can be recorded and unfortunately there are people out there, like Craig McGuire, who will take advantage of trusting people.
“If your child says that they have made a new friend online or they spend most of their time in online chat rooms take an interest and try to learn more about the people they are talking to. If you feel concerned or think your child is being exploited online call police immediately, this case alone should prove what we can do to prosecute those offenders committing these types of crimes.”
If you are a parent and would like more information about how to protect your children online join in with our eMeeting on Monday October 8, at 6.30 pm.
You could also visit advice websites thinkuknow.com and parentsprotect.co.uk.