Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Parents pose as their 11-year-old daughter to snare Facebook paedophile grooming her for sex

Parents pose as their 11-year-old daughter to snare Facebook paedophile grooming her for sex


The parents of an 11-year-old girl posed as their child on the internet to snare a paedophile who they discovered was grooming her for sex.
The pair took over the girl's Facebook account and, pretending to be her, lured perverted Thomas Gibbs into a trap.
Today the 52-year-old was behind bars, starting a 16-month jail term.
A judge heard how the couple became concerned about online conversations between their young daughter and another person.


They stepped in and assumed her internet identity as they realised the correspondent's depraved intentions.
Gibbs suggested meeting the 'young girl' and turned up on two occasions for the arranged rendezvous.
On the first occasion the girl's mother and other relatives watched him, noting his appearance, but did not contact him.
After the second time the predator was arrested.
Gibbs was jailed at Oxford Crown Court after admitting two counts of meeting a child following sexual grooming.
Prosecutor Jennifer Edwards explained how the family took matters into their own hands.
She said the victim was using a laptop in the living room when her mother's suspicions were suddenly aroused.
'She saw over the little girl's shoulder and immediately appreciated she was communicating with Mr Gibbs,' she said.
She said Gibbs was commenting on the girl's profile picture and said he wanted to kiss her, writing: 'I really like you' and 'I want to meet you.'
Mrs Edwards said the mother then took over the laptop and continued to chat to Gibbs posing as her daughter.
The family alerted the police immediately but carried on communicating with him.
'The contact continued for the following week. Each time her daughter went onto the computer Mr Gibbs was there ready, willing to respond,' said Mrs Edwards.
When Gibbs from Witney, Oxfordshire, suggested meeting, the girl's mother continued the pretence and arranged to see him in Witney town centre at noon on April 18.
Family members saw him in the area but did not confront him.
The next time he was on Facebook they agreed to another meeting at 7pm in Carterton, Oxfordshire, on April 30, and Gibbs was arrested.
Mark Dixon, defending, said there was no discussion of sex itself in the communication.
However, he conceded: 'It has caused the family hell and he (Gibbs) accepts responsibility and guilt for that.'
Gibbs was jailed for 16 months and ordered to sign onto the sex offenders' register for at least five years.
Outside court, the girl's mother said: 'We knew once we'd got involved she was 100 per cent safe and she's a very bright girl but you obviously think about all the others that could have been targeted.
'When it first happened she didn't want to go out but now she knows it's all over and he won't be able to do this to any other families.'
She added: 'It does make me more wary of Facebook and parents should be aware of what their children are doing on the internet.'
Detective Constable Jon Capps said: 'I would like to pay tribute to the family who have prevented any further offences being committed, as well as the young girl who was brave enough to tell her parents.'
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