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Man who groomed young girls online jailed

PREDATOR: Taiwo Benson

A MAN who committed a series of sexual offences against young girls he groomed online has been jailed.

Taiwo Benson, who is currently serving a nine-year prison sentence at HMP Littlehey, was sentenced to a further two years’ imprisonment at Kingston Crown Court on Friday (Mar 15), after pleading guilty on November 23 2018 to a series offences including enagging in penetrative sexual activity with a girl aged 13 to 15 and causing a child aged 13 to 15 to watch/look at a image of sexual activity.

The Met says the offences were committed between 1 January and 31 December 2015 against nine victims and the court heard how Benson had previously been convicted and imprisoned for nine years for similar offences against four victims aged between 13 and 15.

Detectives from the Met’s Child Abuse and Sexual Offences Command (CASO) retrieved two mobile phones belonging to him, which contained 1,435 conversations with other potential victims across various social media sites.

The team spent over two years processing the data, travelling across the UK and attempted to contact in excess of 500 girls whom they believed Benson had spoken to. Benson used the names of The Real MVP, Tony and Timi on a range of applications, including WhatsApp, Facebook, Viber and BBM (blackberry messaging).

DANGEROUS

Benson groomed numerous young girls and evidence indicated he had engaged in sexual intercourse with some of the victims.

After making contact with his victims, he attempted to initiate a meeting for sex and requested images of them. He offered a range of goods, but primarily money to encourage them to meet with him. When a victim disclosed her age Benson was not deterred from contacting her further.

Detective Inspector Laura Hillier, who led the investigation, said: “Benson is a very dangerous and manipulative man. He has spent years targeting young girls on the internet for his own gratification.

“Many potential victims were spoken to by officers. I would like to commend the victims who came forward and bravely told officers how Benson groomed and committed offences against them.

Hillier added that it’s her hope that today’s sentence would bring a "measure of comfort and satisfaction to the vulnerable young girls that he preyed upon.”

"The internet is increasingly being used by offenders like Benson to target young victims, and this is something the Met is gearing its safeguarding efforts towards.

“Engaging with someone online is not the same as having just met them in person, but young people will often be more open to people who seem friendly or project a certain image of themselves online without thinking about what that person’s intentions might be, or even whether they are who they say they are.

She concluded that she’d encourage parents to talk to their children about the risks of speaking to people online, and how to stay safe on the internet.

Benson's two-year prison sentence will be served, consecutively, to his existing jail term.

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