August 2007

Girl’s mother traps sex offender

A mother has told how she turned detective to trap a sex offender trying to groom her daughter on the internet.

Robert Giddings, of Weston-super-Mare, North Somerset, was jailed for two years at Mold Crown Court.

The accountant, a divorced father of four, admitted inciting the 12-year-old to perform sexual acts on a webcam.

Over a week, the mother from Rhyl, Denbighshire, helped police trap Giddings, 51, who initially posed as a 15-year-old girl.

The mother said children should not be left unsupervised on computers.

“Don’t ignore the fact that children are on computers,” she said.

“Don’t let them have computers in their own bedrooms because you don’t know who they are talking to.”

The mother went to police after her daughter came to her and told her what was happening.

Giddings had pretended to her daughter that he was the 15-year-old girl but then exposed his lower half to her via a webcam, she said.

“I was fuming – I thought how could somebody do this type of thing to a 12-year-old girl?” the mother said.

“I straightaway got on the phone to the police and told them everything that had gone on and they passed it straight over to CID and they got straight in touch with me.”

With police co-operation, mother continued over the course of a week to chat over the web to Giddings, and once even talked to him using an old mobile phone.

Nightmares

“A lot of the time I did break down because he was talking to me even though he thought I was my 12-year-old daughter.

“So to be honest what he was actually asking me was actually aimed at my daughter and it was very emotional”, she said.

She said the experience had had an impact on both her daughter and her, and her daughter was now nervous of chatrooms

“She was having nightmares, if we’d go out in public places she kept thinking that he was following her

“She’s very streetwise, I’m glad she did straightway come to me and say’ Mum, look there is a problem.'”

Deter others

Giddings also admitted engaging in sexual acts in the presence of a child.

He will be placed on a sex offenders’ register for 10 years and is also banned from associating or seeking contact with any child under the age of 16, other than his own children or grandchildren.

An earlier court hearing was told that Giddings had been communicating via the internet with a large number of young girls as well as older women.

Much of the content related to sexual activity. He had used a number of female pseudonyms of various ages.

Passing sentence, Judge John Rogers told Giddings that prison was “inevitable to punish you and to deter others.”

He added that Giddings was a man of previous good character and was considered to be a low risk of reoffending.

Welcoming the sentence as “fantastic,” the mother said she would also like to go to schools to explain the dangers of chatrooms.