Social networking paedophile cabbie jailed

A taxi driver has received a nine year jail sentence after abusing two girls.

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Benjamin Spratt, 28, was arrested in November 2011 at his home in Chelmsford, Essex. During the previous two months the licensed cabbie had approached young girls using MYLOL, a social networking website designed for teenagers to interact with each other. On the site he used his experience as a DJ to build up a rapport with girls to further his relationship with possible victims.

After meeting his 14-year-old victim from Sutton, Surrey online, he drove to her home to sexually abuse her. Two days later he turned up at her school and she informed teachers that he was outside, but had left before police arrived on the scene. He was later arrested and questioned, and police officers found evidence of contact with numerous young girls on his computer.

Police also tracked down his 15-year-old girl from Bromley, Kent, whom Spratt had convinced online to engage in sexual activity.

Having pleaded guilty in March to four counts of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, two counts of sexual activity with a child and two other sexual offences, Spratt was sentenced on April 25 at Croydon Crown Court. He was also placed on the sex offenders' register for life, banned from using the internet to talk with children, communicating with any female under 16 without supervision and ordered to allow police to examine any device with either internet or digital image storage.

Detective Constable John Daly, of the Metropolitan Police’s Sapphire command, said: "Benjamin Spratt is a predatory paedophile who has targeted a vulnerable young girl to satisfy his own sexual needs. The Met is dedicated to protecting the public from sexual predators and encouraging victims to come forward. They will be fully supported by specially trained officers."

Sapphire is a unit of specialist Metropolitan Police officers whose role is to investigate rapes and other serious sexual violence. This includes providing care and support to the victims, as well as investigating the offence to the satisfaction of victim and bringing the offender to justice.

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