Predatory Southampton sex offender jailed for attempting to meet young girl
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A Southampton man has been jailed after being found guilty of communicating with an undercover police officer, who he believed to be a 12-year-old girl.
Manoj Kumar, 26, of Avenue Road, appeared before Southampton Crown Court on Friday (2 February) having previously been found guilty of child sex offences.
The court heard how Kumar was arrested following an investigation by undercover officers posing as a 12-year-old girl. Kumar engaged in explicit, sexual conversation with officers via KIK Messenger, Whatsapp and Telegram on a number of occasions in 2021.
In messages sent to officers Kumar, who was 24 at the time of the offences, told the fictional girl that she was ‘cute’, ‘sweet’ and ‘gorgeous’ before speaking to her in a graphic manner and attempting to incite her into sexual activity. He sent messages claiming to be her boyfriend and asked her to keep their conversations to herself, as well as asking her to delete all of their messages.
On 17 February 2021 Kumar went to the Sainsbury’s car park in Victor Street, Southampton, thinking that he was meeting the young girl. Instead, police arrested him and took him into custody.
Following an investigation which involved the analysis of three mobile phones, a tablet and a laptop, Kumar was charged with attempting to cause or incite a female under the age of 13 to engage in sexual activity involving penetration and arranging or facilitating commission of a child sex offence.
He pleaded not guilty to the offences, however a jury found him guilty following a trial in December 2023.
He has now been sentenced to seven and a half years in prison and will be subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for ten years.
Police Constable Sarah Tickner, of Hampshire & Isle of Wight Constabulary’s Internet Child Abuse Team, said: “Manoj Kumar is a manipulative sexual offender whose predatory behaviour is extremely concerning.
“Our specially trained officers are experienced in investigating these types of offences and will continue to work hard disrupting offenders like Kumar, before they can cause harm to a real child.
“Young people have such easy access to the internet and mobile phones today, so it is more important than ever that parents stay vigilant and educate their children about staying safe online.
“We will continue our work protecting vulnerable people, including young children, against possible sexual exploitation and I hope that this sentence shows that we are always investigating and disrupting those who intend to cause harm to innocent young victims.
“I also hope this sentence will alert others, especially the parents of young children, to the dangers of the digital world and also encourage any victims of child sexual abuse to come forward and speak to us, no matter when it happened.
“We would encourage anyone who has been a victim of child sexual abuse to contact police on 101 where you can speak with our specialist officers in confidence.”
If you’re worried about a child’s behaviour, either in the real world or online, or even if you're unsure - you can speak to trained professionals who may be able to support you; as they might be at risk of child sexual exploitation.
Remind the child that even though people they’ve met online might feel like friends they may not be who they say they are. It is always worth considering reviewing what apps they are using and the parental controls and privacy settings on devices, mobile apps and social media networks that they may use too.
If you think a child is in immediate danger, call the police on 999.
The Lucy Faithfull Foundation is the only UK wide charity dedicated solely to preventing child sexual abuse. For anonymous support and advice, use the Stop It Now! helpline on 0808 1000 900 or visit https://www.stopitnow.org.uk/helpline/ to find out more.