Paedophile handed nine-year jail sentence after grooming two teenagers online


Benjamin Spratt used a social networking site to target his victims.


By SWLondoner staff

A man who used a teenage social networking site to groom two young girls was sentenced to nine years in prison when he appeared at Croydon Crown Court last week.

Benjamin Spratt, 28, pleased guilty to four counts of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, two counts of sexual activity with a child and two counts of digital and oral penetration of a 14-year-old.

The taxi driver, of Laurel Grove in Chelmsford, approached young girls on the website MYLOL in September and October 2011.

Detective Constable John Daly, of the MPS Sapphire Command, said: “Benjamin Spratt is a predatory paedophile who has targeted a vulnerable young girl to satisfy his own sexual needs.”

He used his experience as a DJ to build a rapport with the teenage girls he met on the website, and after meeting one 14-year-old victim online, he travelled to her home to sexually abuse her.

Three days later he turned up at her school where she told teachers that he was outside, but Spratt disappeared before they arrived. 

He was arrested and questioned by officers from Sapphire, the police unit which investigates serious sexual violence, and on further examination of his computer, officers discovered he had been in contact with numerous young girls.

A 15-year-old girl was tracked down by officers and told them that Spratt convinced her to engage in sexual activity online while he performed a sex act on himself.

Spratt was also placed on the sex offenders register for life and given a Sexual Offences Prevention Order for five years.

He was also banned from using the internet to talk with children, communicate with any female under 16 without supervision and to allow the police to examine any device with either internet or digital image storage.

Detective Inspector Keith Ward, of the MPS Sapphire Command, said: “The victim was targeted, groomed and exploited by Spratt.

“This crime again shows how the internet and social media can be used by paedophiles to snare their victims. This conviction will provide reassurance that we will relentlessly pursue those who commit these dreadful crimes against children.”

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Picture courtesy of ray forster, with thanks

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