Family Warning Over Online Grooming

13 April 2010, 05:56 | Updated: 13 April 2010, 06:11

Relatives of the 12 year old victim - groomed online by a 37-year-old man - are warning parents of the dangers of children meeting people online.

Timothy Fullard was jailed for two years at Northampton Crown Court after admitting two charges. Fullard had previously pleaded guilty to causing or inciting a female child under the age of 13 to engage in sexual activity, and arranging or
facilitating the commission of a child sex act offence.

Fullard, whose address was previously given as Bryn Y Ffynnon Road, Wrexham, Wales, was also ordered to sign the sex offenders register for 10 years and given a Sexual Offences Prevention Order, the court official said.

In a statement released through police, the family of his 12-year-old victim urged parents to trust their instincts. The girl's parents said: "We are glad that this evil man has been caught and removed from society and from the chance of doing this to someone else.  As parents we always want to protect our children and sometimes that can be difficult. Young people want friendship and want to enjoy themselves, and bad people can take advantage of that and be deceiving, pretending to be people they're not."

"I would urge parents to trust their instincts, sometimes you might feel paranoid and question yourself, but if you feel like there is something not right then follow it up.''

They urged parents who noticed a change in their child's behaviour not to just put it down to being a teenager, but to try to share their interests and warn them about giving out information online, or putting up pictures or videos: "Help your children to understand that sometimes people lie online and that they should never meet up with strangers, but always try to communicate with your children so they feel comfortable to tell you if something is wrong,'' they said.

"The immediate response for a parent in similar circumstances is to try and restrict access to mobiles phones or the Internet, but children can always gain access elsewhere. The best way is to teach them to be more careful and interact with them. It can be hard for young people to accept that sometimes people online can have bad intentions, but hopefully this will help warn other parents and young people to be more cautious."

Detective Sergeant Alison Farr, who led the investigation, said: “Timothy Fullard acted intentionally and in a predatory manner to take advantage of a young and naïve girl.

“Thanks to the actions and early intervention of the family, we were able to catch Fullard and make him accountable for his actions. Hopefully this case will help raise awareness of the dangers posed by such individuals and help people to take necessary precautions against falling victim.”