Net paedophile gets five years

Jail term for paedophile who tracked his victim online as parents ask why can't we trap these people?

A paedophile who used the Internet to stalk his victims has been sentenced to five years imprisonment for the sexual abuse of a 13-year-old girl he met on the Web.

Aylesbury Crown Court heard that Patrick Green, 33, of Ivor Heath in Buckinghamshire lured the girl into meeting him after posing as a 15-year-old boy. Green stalked the girl for several months, and after obtaining her private email address arranged a private rendezvous.

Green met the girl in his car and took her to his flat where he began a series of indecent assaults.

His Honourable Judge Tyrer sentenced Green to a total of five years for multiple assault charges and on eight counts of possessing indecent photographs of children.

"It's satisfying to see a severe custodial sentence being pronounced upon a net paedophile -- it demonstrates how serious the crime is, as we're talking about protecting children here," said Jim Reynolds, former head of the paedophilia unit at New Scotland Yard.

Reynolds believes chat rooms are the prime target for paedophiles as they allow children to engage in live conversation with strangers, potentially leading to tragic meetings.

Observers say the case demonstrates that the UK possesses legislation to deal with paedophiles who assault children using chat rooms, but only once the event has taken place. In America laws exist to combat the online enticement of children. Police officers go online pretending to be children and encourage web predators to contact them.

"We need to monitor the situation carefully. In the UK the police are legally prevented from encouraging people to commit criminal offences, whereas the US legal system is allowed to engage in entrapment," said Reynolds.

Children's charity Childnet International is launching Chatdanger.com to coincide with the sentencing of Patrick Green. The Web site has been designed to alert parents to the dangers of online chat rooms, helping children to be streetwise in cyberspace.

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