November 2017

Child sex offender was ‘clear risk’ on jail release, says victim’s mother

The mother of a child lured into the car of a convicted sex offender has called the sentence passed down a “kick in the teeth”.

Andrew Chaplin, of Waveney Road, Bury St Edmunds, was jailed for 20 months after admitting – just before his trial last Friday – to breaching a sexual offences prevention order and to causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

Chaplin, 42, who will have to sign the sex offenders’ register and be subject to a 10-year sexual harm prevention order, had already been required to sign the register after being released on licence from a three-year jail term handed down at Norwich Crown Court in February 2015.

His victim’s online activity was monitored by the child’s mother and her ex-partner in the lead up to the incident, which resulted in Chaplin’s arrest and return to jail for tracking the child to a Suffolk supermarket following initial contact – mostly on Facebook.

According to the teenager’s mother, the online conversation started innocently but ended in a dramatic confrontation when Chaplin learned the child was going to the supermarket and made his move.

What happened next is unclear, but the victim’s mother suspects Chaplin found the child and addressed them by name.

Meanwhile, her ex-partner had also driven to the supermarket, arriving to find Chaplin with the child in his car.

“He grabbed the keys from the ignition and called the police,” said the child’s mother, who called Chaplin’s sentence “a kick in the teeth”.

“A sentence like this is just pathetic for a second time offender who is clearly a risk to children.

“Being on the sex offenders’ register or on licence clearly wasn’t a deterrent in any way.

“There should be more serious sentences and more monitoring of these people for online activity.

“This person went against everything the sex offenders’ register is supposed to do.

“I would urge parents to be very vigilant. The person playing online computer games with your child might not be who they claim.

“It’s not like the old image of paedophiles offering sweets in the playground. With the internet, they can be in your home; upstairs with your children.

“We shouldn’t have to ban children from going online, but they should be able to do it safely.”

The Ministry of Justice was contacted for a response.