24 May 2010

Jailed web sex offender is ‘parent’s worst nightmare’

A judge has branded a man who captured indecent pictures of children over the internet a “parent’s worst nightmare”.

Nicholas Bennett, of Herbert Road, Swanley, Kent, was jailed for two-and-a-half years for 10 offences, including inciting sexual activity with a child.

Maidstone Crown Court was told he had claimed to be a 15-year-old boy on at least one occasion while chatting on the internet with girls under 16.

He was sentenced on Monday after pleading guilty at a previous hearing.

Judge Philip Statman ordered Bennett to sign the sex offenders register for life and also gave him a 10-year sex offences prevention order.

Australian victim

He was arrested in 2009 when a woman told police he was blackmailing her over images she had sent him as a child.

Kent Police said they found evidence that he used computer software to capture internet chats with girls aged between 11 and 16, including one from Sydney, Australia.

Det Con Mikaela Stevens said: “Bennett has denied any wrongdoing throughout his interviews but the evidence presented in court shows the extent of planning he would undertake in order to commit these crimes.

“I would like to thank the young woman who made the initial report to police for coming forward and speaking with officers.

“Her courage and co-operation with officers was vital in bringing this offender before the courts and in identifying other children he had abused and also preventing further children from coming into contact with him in the future.”

Bennett pleaded guilty to five offences of causing or inciting pornography, four counts of making indecent images of children and one count of causing or inciting sexual activity with a child.