West Cumbrian man jailed for grooming schoolgirl through social media apps
Darren Chambers, who has been jailed for three years and four months for child sex offences.
Monday 13th February 2017
A west Cumbrian man has been jailed after he admitted grooming a 12-year-old schoolgirl.
Darren Chambers, of Honister Road, Whitehaven, admitted inciting a girl under the age of 13 to engage in sexual activity and causing a child under the age of 13 to look at an image of sexual activity.
The 27-year-old contacted the girl after seeing her profile on the photo-sharing social media site Instagram. He then took her Snapchat username from her biography and used that app to contact her.
Messages were sent between March 26 and April 6 last year.
On Friday, Carlisle Crown Court heard that the girl made Chambers aware of her age, but that he still quickly developed their correspondence into a sexual conversation.
He sent indecent images of himself, urged her to engage in indecent acts and asked her to send naked photos to him.
During one exchange the girl sent an image of herself aged 11 wearing her school uniform. Chambers replied: “You were sexy at 11-years-old.”
In his police interview Chambers agreed that the girl had made it clear from the beginning that she was 12 but that he had convinced himself she was 17 or 18.
He told officers that he had no intention of ever meeting her but evidence was presented that Chambers had sent messages to the girl on 13 separate occasions asking her to meet him.
Detective Constable Carolyn Orr, of Cumbria police, said: “This case highlights the dangers predatory individuals pose to young people who may feel they are innocently using social media to communicate with friends.
“Chambers was able to commit these offences because he was able to open up a private line of communication with the victim whose contact details were publicly displayed.
“It is vital that we get across to people – most importantly young people – the potential dangers posed on social media. By acknowledging these risks and taking steps to reduce them we can do more to safeguard young people and protect them from people like Darren Chambers.”