A report today states that a 46 year-old man from Coulsdon was yesterday (Thursday 18 June) sentenced to a total of 30 months in prison at Guildford Crown Court for a number of offences including making and taking indecent images of children.
Graham Robert Mead of Portnalls Road admitted arranging or facilitating the commission of a child sex offence, making an indecent photograph of a child, and three offences of taking indecent images of a child at earlier hearings.
A Surrey Police investigation was launched in February 2019 after Mead’s online activity was reported to us. Subsequent enquiries showed that Mead had been using the messaging app Kik to seek individuals who had children or access to them. Our enquiries also identified a vulnerable teenager that Mead had taken advantage of.
Investigating officer DC Steve Branch said: “We welcome the sentence that the court has imposed. It sends a clear message to anyone targeting or abusing children that you cannot hide online or behind a username. We will find you and investigate your activity thoroughly to bring you to justice.
“Our enquiries showed that Mead had 2,500 chat logs on his mobile device from Kik. He would seek others who had access to children in order to facilitate sexual abuse and also sought indecent images. It became clear that Mead was extremely manipulative and this sentence demonstrates just how seriously the courts took our concerns for the safety of those that he may have come into contact with”.
Although the internet is a great place to communicate with people, this sentencing acts as a reminder that there are perpetrators out there using it to reach their victims.
Parents can help their children understand the dangers of using the internet. Parents should talk to their children and allow them to feel comfortable with raising any issues or concerns they may encounter. Parents should model good behaviour and use of technology and make children aware that people aren’t always who they seem online.
Parents and teenagers are urged to know the signs of grooming, whether online or in person, and are encouraged to report any suspicions to police.
Signs of grooming and exploitation can include:
- Association with older people, anti-social groups and other vulnerable peers
- Being involved in abusive relationships, feeling intimidated and fearful of certain people or situations
- Going missing, running away or homelessness
- Being absent and truanting from school or showing signs of disengagement or considerable change in performance
- Unexplained changes in behaviour, temperament or personality (e.g. chaotic, aggressive, sexual, mood swings)
- These are just some of the signs and many victims will not see them as indicators of sexual exploitation or grooming. Young people often trust their abuser and don’t understand that they’re being abused, or they may depend on their abuser or be too scared to tell anyone what’s happening.
More tips on how to stay safe online can be found on our website and on www.thinkuknow.co.uk
Victims of these types of offences are encouraged to speak up and report what has happened. Please call us on 101 (999 in an emergency) or call independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
If you’re concerned about your own online behaviour, or that of someone you know, make contact with the Lucy Faithfull Foundation’s “Stop It Now” anonymous helpline on 0808 1000