July 2013

Man jailed for grooming girl on Facebook

A ‘SEXUAL predator’ has been jailed for two years after grooming a teenage girl on Facebook.

Richard Bragger, of Astley Close, Woodrow, was given the sentence at Worcester Crown Court on Monday (July 15) after pleading guilty to causing or inciting a girl to engage in sexual activity.

He was also ordered to register as a sex offender for ten years and was handed an indefinite Sexual Offences Prevention Order.

The 41-year-old formed a relationship with the 14-year-old through the social networking site, where he had regular intimate conversations with her.

It was only after the girl’s mother became suspicious and discovered the contact he was arrested.

Det Con Matt Skelton, of West Mercia Police’s Child Protection Unit, said Bragger was fully aware the victim was only 14.

“Unfortunately social networking sites such as Facebook give sexual predators a new and easy way of targeting young people without necessarily having direct physical contact with them,” he said.

“With the school holidays starting and many teenagers being left to their own devices, it is a relevant time to warn parents of the dangers of young people face while accessing the internet unsupervised.”

He added to stop children becoming a victim of grooming, parents should make sure they only use the internet on a computer in a family room rather than on laptops or mobile phones in bedrooms.

“It also imperative they sit down with their children to establish ground rules about internet use, including going through the list of friends they have social networking sites,” he said.

“Communicating with their children, taking an interest in what they are doing, and being approachable means a child is much more likely to tell them if they see anything online that makes them feel worried or uncomfortable.”