January 2021

Paedophile groomed girl on Snapchat then met in woods for sex

A paedophile groomed a schoolgirl on Snapchat before meeting in woods near her home to sexually abuse her.

Matthew Gomez, then 20, pretended to be 16 when he targeted two 13-year-old victims on the social media platform.

The pervert sent the girls disgusting images of himself and asked them to provide him with sexual photos in return.

Liverpool Crown Court heard the now 23-year-old, of Crabtree Close, Netherley, secretly recorded photos of the children.

He took his abuse a step further when he met one girl in Widnes, filmed her on his phone performing a sex act on him, then repeatedly asked for sex.

But when she told him to stop because he was hurting her, Gomez called her a “d***head” and as he walked away revealed that he had recorded her.

One of the main features of Snapchat is that pictures and messages are usually only available for a short time, before they are automatically deleted.

However, Gomez used an iPad to film and permanently retain indecent photos and videos sent to him on his mobile phone by five separate girls from Merseyside and Cheshire.

Steven Swift, prosecuting, said these girls included one child as young as eight, shown dancing around in a bedroom with her sister, aged 12.

Gomez admitted three counts of possessing indecent images, including Category A files – the most serious category – on the basis he didn’t accept the girls were under 16.

He still maintained this stance today, but Judge Denis Watson, QC, said a trial over the issue wasn’t required, because it wouldn’t impact his overall sentence.

The court heard this was because Gomez was convicted of even more serious offences at a trial in December.

He was found guilty of five sexual offences in respect of one 13-year-old girl, and two sexual offences in respect of a second girl, also aged 13, in 2017.

The two girls said they told Gomez they were 13 and that he claimed to be 16.

However, he denied lying about his age, or knowing that either of them were underage.

Gomez was convicted of causing a child to watch a sexual act, after sending the first girl a photo of himself masturbating, and causing a child to engage in sexual activity, relating to asking her for a nude picture and the girl sending a photo of her breasts.

He was convicted of meeting a child following sexual grooming, after travelling to Widnes to meet her, then going to the woods.

Two convictions for sexual activity with a child related to the girl performing the sex act on him and him repeatedly asking for sex, then touching her with his penis.

Gomez was found guilty of another count of causing a child to watch a sexual act, for sending the second girl a photo of himself masturbating, and of causing a child to engage in sexual activity, when she sent him an image of her performing a sex act.

Judge Denis Watson, QC, said Gomez had “a sexual interest in younger girls” and knew due to using Snapchat that it was popular with younger teenage girls, some of whom were willing to “flirt sexually” and meet with him.

He said Gomez was “adept” at using a second device to film and store photos of the girls on Snapchat.

The judge said there were “elements of planning, grooming, targeting and persistence”.

Referring to the first victim who he took to the woods, Judge Watson said: “These are events that she will never forget.”

Judge Watson told Gomez that a medical report set out “the condition that you had led to not just a lack of physical development and growth, but a lack of self confidence, which seems to me to be a factor why you were interested in contacting younger girls”.

He said: “You appear to have accepted the jury’s verdict. Quite how that sits with you contesting and continuing to contest the correctness of the verdicts in the pre-sentence report is a difficult one, but it does suggest to me that you’re willing to address your behaviours.”

Judge Watson jailed Gomez for six and a half years, and imposed an indefinite restraining order to protect his victims.

The judge ordered Gomez to sign on the Sex Offenders Register and to comply with a Sexual Harm Prevention Order indefinitely.