Man Jailed For Attempts To Groom Child

26 January 2019, 11:18 | Updated: 26 January 2019, 11:38


A former Maidstone resident who used mobile phone apps in attempts to groom a child for sex offences has been jailed.

Peter O’Keefe sent indecent images of himself to another user who he believed was only 13 years old.

Between 11 January and 4 April 2018, O’Keefe, aged 32, accessed instant messaging apps to seek out and contact a child, who posted under the name of Charlotte.

Despite her sending a number of replies, stating she was a child, O’Keefe made repeated attempts to entice her into sexual activity and to send him indecent images.

During one conversation he messaged her ‘age doesn’t bother me at all’.

Unbeknown to O’Keefe, Charlotte did not exist – her profile was part of a fictitious account - and he was arrested by Kent Police on 7 April.

He admitted to officers that during online chats he had lied about his own age and had claimed to be 18, but added he thought that Charlotte’s profile picture had appeared to make her look older. 

Guilty pleas

O’Keefe was charged with attempting sexual communication with a child, attempting to cause a child to watch a sexual act, attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity and attempting to cause a child to engage in sexual activity.

Appearing before Maidstone Crown Court he gave his most recent address as being in Wroxham, Norwich and pleaded guilty to all the charges.

O’Keefe was sentenced on Friday 25 January 2019 to 12 months imprisonment.

He was also placed on the sex offenders’ register for 10 years and made subject to a sexual harm prevention order.

Precautions to protect children

Detective Constable Graham Oliver, of Kent Police’s Paedophile Online Investigation Team said: ‘O’Keefe made persistent and repeated efforts to contact a child for the purposes of his own gratification. He has displayed a clear desire to sexually abuse a child and the graphic detail and demands he included in his messages was hugely concerning.

‘This case acts as a reminder to parents of children who have mobile phones and tablets to speak to them and help them understand the precautions they should take when using the internet, or the many instant messaging services that are available. Children should only communicate with people that they know personally and report any suspicions or inappropriate advances from strangers to their parents, schools or the police.’