July 2021

Paedo is snared by undercover officer

A pervert who was snared by an undercover police officer has been jailed for seven years.

David Bennett, 34, of Albion Road, Westcliff appeared at Basildon Crown Court yesterday charged with a series of sexual offences including trying to incite a child to engage in sexual activity.

The court heard how Bennett was speaking to a police officer who was posing as a 12-year-old girl online.

Prosecuting Gareth Hughes said: “This offending started on March 17 with a police officer playing the role of a 12-year-old girl and in a 10 day period she was groomed by the defendant using online chat rooms and social media.

“She told him she was 12 and he told her he was 16 and then later said he was 28 when he’s actually 34.

“He was asking her about her experience sexually and in relationships.

“He kept asking her for explicit images of herself and sent her explicit images of himself. He then became frustrated with her as she was not sending the images he had requested.”

Bennett had been released from prison in 2019 and was subject to a sexual harm prevention order which meant he had to tell police if he used social media.

He has previous convictions for attempted rape of a child, indecent assault of a child and having indecent images of children.

Judge Andrew Hurst told Bennett offending was part of his “psychological make-up”.

He said: “This offending shows it’s an entrenched part of your psychological makeup

“If you were to reoffend again to a real child the damage would be serious and children are not equipped to deal with adult sexuality.”

Bennett was sent to prison for seven years and will spent seven years on licence once he is released.