Gloucester man jailed for six years and six months after grooming child online
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A police team dedicated to protecting children have helped put a paedophile behind bars after he groomed a 12-year-old girl online.
Stewart Barnett was 42 when he posed as a 19-year-old and sent messages to the child on different social media sites and over text.
He has now been jailed for six years and six months following an investigation by Gloucestershire Constabulary's Child Sexual Exploitation Team.
Barnett had been messaging the victim for a number of months last year and asked her to carry out sexual acts on herself.
He asked her to video these and send them to him, and he also sent the child images and videos of himself masturbating.
Police were informed and Barnett, now aged 43 and from Longlevens, Gloucester was arrested and charged.
He admitted two counts of causing or inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity – penetration, and one count of causing or inciting a girl under 13 to engage in sexual activity - no penetration.
At a hearing on 25 May Barnett also admitted making indecent images of a child (the victim), namely 20 images and four videos in category A, 28 images and 29 videos in category B and 190 images and 9 videos in category C.
He was sentenced at Gloucester Crown Court on Monday 26 June to six years and six months in custody. Barnett was also given a restraining order for 10 years, a sexual harm prevention order for 15 years and he was placed on the Sex Offenders' Register for life.
Investigating officer TDC Caroline George said: "Barnett preyed upon this child and sent her vile messages, which included trying to make her feel guilty when she didn’t want to send him certain videos.
"He displayed clear grooming behaviour by telling the victim that he loved her and wanted to meet her, while knowing he was speaking to, and exploiting, a child.
"I'd like to commend the girl’s courage for speaking about what was happening and working with us throughout the investigation."
Detective Inspector Simon Goodenough added: "We have a dedicated team which investigate these type of abhorrent offences and we’ll do everything we can in order to prosecute those who cause harm to children.
"The victim in this case has been extremely brave for speaking about Barnett’s horrid actions and I would too like to thank her and her family for working with us."
Following the hearing, the victim's mother said: "We feel relieved that justice has been served and that now we hope we can rebuild our lives moving forward.
"We would like to extend our grateful thanks for the amazing support we received from TDC Caroline George throughout every stage of this investigation.
"We would also like to thank our child exploitation social worker and Gloucestershire Rape and Sexual Abuse Centre for their hard work and the support which they have given our daughter."
Thinkuknow is an educational programme which protects children both online and offline. For advice for parents and carers to help keep children safe visit: www.thinkuknow.co.uk
If you have concerns about your own use of the internet or inappropriate thoughts or behaviour about children, or you are worried about how someone you know behaves, then contact the Lucy Faithfull Foundation https://www.lucyfaithfull.org.uk/. You can also call the confidential Stop It Now! helpline: 0808 1000 900.