A man who tried to groom girls as young as 12 through Facebook and cover his tracks has been jailed for two and a half years.
Samuel Netley, 23 and of Dorchester, was handed the sentence today, (Tuesday 2 February), at Southampton Crown Court. He was convicted at Bournemouth Crown Court following a seven-day trial.
He was handed a six-month jail term for five counts of inciting sexual activity with a child, a four-month jail term to run concurrently for three counts of inciting sexual activity with a child, 18 months in prison to run consecutively for one count of attempting to groom a child and six months in prison to run consecutively for perverting the course of justice.
He was also placed on the Sex Offenders Register for life and given an indefinite Sexual Harm Prevention Order.
Netley had messaged a total of eight girls between May and September 2014, using sexually suggestive language and sending sexually explicit pictures of himself. He also asked to meet the girls in person. He then tried to cover his tracks by claiming someone had hacked into his account.
Netley was arrested in Dorchester on 2 September 2014.
Detective Inspector Neil Phillips, of Dorset Police’s Child Abuse Investigation Team, said: “Netley messaged these girls with the sole intention of meeting them for sex.
“He tried to cover his tracks by asking a friend to log in to his Facebook account and then claimed his account had been hacked.
“But officers saw through this deceit and through a successful police operation were able to bring Netley to justice.
“Police will actively investigate anyone involved in downloading or producing indecent images of children.
“This case should serve as a warning to anyone attempting to groom children online that we will track you, we will arrest you and you will be brought to justice.
“I also urge those abusing children to seek professional help from either their GP or another professional organisation such as Stop it Now! of the Lucy Faithfull Foundation.
“Targeting criminals in cyber space and safeguarding children from serious harm remains a priority for Dorset Police.”
The Paedophile Online Investigation Team can be contacted on 101. In an emergency always dial 999.