April 2021

Mum was sent video of ‘monster’ paedophile having sex with her daughter after he groomed her over Snapchat

A mum was sent video of a “monster” paedophile having sex with her daughter after he groomed her over Snapchat.

Matthew Lawton, who was 29 at the time, preyed on two teenage girls.

He lured them with offers of cigarettes, alcohol and cannabis and lied that he was 19 to trick the children, aged 14 and 13, into meeting for consensual sex.

Lawton pestered the victims to send him intimate photos and filmed the 14-year-old – aka Girl A – having sex with him

The “monster” then used the clip to blackmail her into further abuse when she tried to stop seeing him – including a rape after he held a knife to her throat.

He later posted the video on a Snapchat account called “slags”, which lead to the video being sent to the girl’s mum.

Lawton, of Milton Road, Widnes, who claimed he thought the girls were 16, was found guilty after a trial at Liverpool Crown Court of 19 sexual offences.

Judge Denis Watson, QC, said Lawton “corrupted” the girls after he “lied” about his age and “engineered” the abuse.

“You’re 30 and you had a girlfriend,” he said. “What you also had, and still have, I find, is a serious sexual interest in young girls.

“You were regularly in contact with young teenagers on social media including Snapchat and you knew very well that these young teenagers enjoyed attention from you, an older male, even though you didn’t give your true age.

“You would typically offer alcohol, or cigarettes, or cannabis, or a combination of them, and that proved sufficient for them to be prepared to meet you and engage in sexual activity, which they wished to keep secret from their parents and their friends.”

Judge Watson added: “You were after one thing, sex.”

The judge said Lawton abused Girl A over a four or five month period, during which time texts showed he threatened to break windows at her parents’ home and to post the video on social media.

Judge Watson said one rape happened after Lawton pressured Girl A to meet him at his house and she made clear she didn’t want sex.

Another rape happened after he threatened to damage her mum’s car unless she met him, so she climbed out her bedroom window.

Having been “coerced” by Lawton, she met him on a sports ground in the early hours of the morning, when he again raped her.

Judge Watson said the threats were “successful”, but when she stopped seeing him, Lawton posted the video online.

He said: “She was instantly recognised by those who saw it and the video was even sent to her own mother.”

The judge said it was “planned and calculated exploitation” of a vulnerable teen, which involved “controlling her for your own sexual gratification”.

Sarah Holt, prosecuting, read a victim statement from Girl A, who was left suffering panic attacks, nightmares and self-harming.

Girl A said: “He’s a monster, that’s what I call him. He’s a monster, what else is he? He controlled me and he made me go against my parents.”

The victim said she felt angry and ashamed, blamed herself and saw her parents upset, including her dad, who received texts from people blaming her.

Girl A said: “Whose dad wants to know that this has happened to their little girl?”

She described receiving threats from people saying they would “batter” her because they were mentioned in court and also fears Lawton will return.

Girl A said: “I don’t feel safe from him. I feel like the monster has won. I feel like he’s taken my life and taken my childhood.”

Judge Watson said the offences against Girl B didn’t involve rape but involved grooming and soliciting of sexual images.

Girl B told the court she felt like “a prisoner in my own home” because her mum was trying to protect her, leading to arguments.

She felt “constantly anxious”, worried he would return, cried uncontrollably and felt like everyone was staring and judging her.

Judge Watson said he was a “dangerous offender” and jailed him for 15 years, with an extended four years on licence.

Lawton was convicted of four counts of rape, nine counts of sexual activity with a child, two counts of meeting a child following sexual grooming, two counts of sexual communication with a child, inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and taking indecent photographs of a child.

He must serve at least two thirds of the sentence – 10 years – behind bars before he can apply for parole and will only be released before the end of the sentence if he is no longer considered a risk.

Lawton must also sign the Sex Offenders Register and comply with a Sexual Harm Prevention Order indefinitely.

He was previously jailed for six years for inflicting grievous bodily harm with intent in 2011.

Judge Watson told Lawton: “Your parents have not given up on you.”

However, referring to Girl A, he noted “the sinister fact of you picking up a knife and holding it to her neck, immediately prior to the rape” and “a willingness to achieve what you want by the use of blackmail”.