January 2004

‘Chatroom’ sex offender jailed

A 43-year-old man has been jailed for six years after a series of sex offences against teenage girls.

Sheffield Crown Court heard that Martin Knight had sex with the girls, from Hull and Manchester, after targeting them on the internet.

Knight, of Sheffield, admitted charges of child abduction, indecent assault and unlawful sexual intercourse.

Judge Alan Goldsack said he was imposing a substantial sentence to protect other youngsters from him.

Sheffield Crown Court was told that Knight, a lorry driver from Ecclesfield, groomed teenage girls in internet chatrooms by posing as a 20-year-old.

It was only after convincing them to meet up that he revealed his real age, the court heard.

His first victim was a 13-year-old girl who he had sex with after picking her up from her home in Hull.

The second, a 15-year-old girl from Manchester, also agreed to meet Knight but became distressed by his sexual advances towards her.

She called her parents and the police in August 2003 and he was arrested.

When police examined Knight’s computer they found evidence he had contacted up to nine other teenage girls, the court was told.

Sentence ‘warning’

Judge Goldstack told him: “You do not seem to consider that what you did was wrong.

“You deliberately groomed these girls over a long period of time so you could have sexual relations with them.”

“Therefore, a long custodial sentence is inevitable, both as a punishment to you, a warning to others and for the protection of these young girls.”

Knight was also placed on the sex offenders register for life.