March 2021

‘Dangerous sexual predator’ tried to lure teens into Primark changing rooms

A sexual predator who tried to lure two teenagers into Primark changing rooms to search them by posing as a security officer has been sentenced to an indefinite hospital order.

Benjamin Cooley, of Ferry Lane in Guildford, was not fit to enter a plea but the jury found he did commit the offences of attempted kidnap and breach of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order at Guildford Crown Court on Thursday (March 11).

The incident happened on November 20, 2019, when Cooley approached the teenagers in Primark and, telling them he was a security guard, led them to the changing rooms.

Before Cooley could carry out the searches, he was challenged by a store employee.

However, he didn’t stop there and instead walked the teenagers to another area within the shopping centre where he tried to get them into a cupboard to carry out a search.

At this point, they became suspicious and asked for identification. When he couldn’t provide any, they left.

The victims reported what happened to police who later arrested Cooley.

He was already subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order issued against him in November 2017, so he was also charged with breaching the terms of this order.