May 2021

Tesco worker ‘dangerous’ to children after trying to groom 14-year-old girl on Kik app

A Tesco worker has been branded ‘dangerous’ to children after trying to groom a 14-year-old on the Kik app.

Matthew Whitehouse asked the girl to send him naked photos after sending her a link to a ‘game’.

The 30-year-old from Erdington was also found in possession of more than 100 sick pictures and moving images of children, some of which he distributed on the social media network.

His most serious offence was sending a category A – the most serious – image of a victim as young as five.

Whitehouse was said to be ashamed of his actions and worried about losing his supermarket job of 11 years. But that was the least of his problems as he was jailed for 20 months at Birmingham Crown Court on Tuesday, May 11.

The probation service concluded he presented a high risk of serious harm to children.

Judge Richard Bond said: “I’ve got to protect the public from him. The probation service is effectively saying he’s dangerous.”

Police executed a warrant at his home in Glendon Road on August 28, 2019 after receiving intelligence about a Kik account from the address being linked to indecent images.

Officers arrested Whitehouse who denied any sexual interest in children and said he thought he had been talking to adults, although he admitted some ‘low level’ distribution of images, said prosecutor Richard McConaghy.

An iPod Touch and Samsung tablet were seized which together contained 33 category A still and moving images, 34 category B and 41 category C. Whtehouse’s chat logs on Kik were analysed revealing he had distributed six pictures.

He had also spoken to someone who had stated they were 14-years-old, although the individual has never been traced to confirm whether she was authentic or a setup by paedophile hunters.

Whitehouse sent the girl a link to a questionnaire which at first asked ‘innocuous’ questions.

Mr McConaghy said: “As things progressed he sent a second link with more questions. Things became more sexualised. It was a mechanism to encourage this 14-year-old girl to enter into this game then up the ante asking her what sexual behaviour she had engaged in, who with, how many times, whether she would pose for photographs.

“As the conversation began to reach its peak he sent her some indecent images.”

Whitehouse admitted three charges of making indecent images, three charges of distributing indecent images and one count of attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child.

Judge Bond imposed a 10-year sexual harm prevention order (SHPO) and told Whitehouse he will have to sign the sex offenders’ register for the same period.