Letchworth man sentenced for sexual grooming offences

A MAN who admitted committing sexual grooming offences was sentenced on Friday.

Simon Horner, 22, from Letchworth GC, was given a two-year community sentence after pleading guilty to two counts of attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming.

Horner also received a mental health treatment order and a sex offenders prevention order when sentenced at Cambridge Crown Court, and will have to register as a sex offender for five years.

Horner was arrested on June 2, 2011, after striking up an online friendship with a 10-year-old boy via social networking site Facebook.

Officers from Hertfordshire Constabulary’s Paedophile Investigation Unit were able to intercept the private messages that Horner was sending to the 10-year-old after the boy’s family became suspicious of their online friendship.

Assuming the boy’s online identity, officers continued to interact with Horner and arrested him after Horner arranged to meet the boy locally.

Commenting on the case, DI Damien Kennedy, from the Paedophile Investigation Unit, said: “Thanks to the diligence of the parents and the excellent covert work from my officers, a potentially dangerous man was caught. Horner was able to infiltrate the boy’s Facebook account by posing as a ‘friend’.

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“Fortunately we were able to close down this liaison before the pair were able to meet. However, it is all too easy for young children and vulnerable people to become potential victims via social networking sites and we would urge parents and children to use these sites with caution.”