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Internet Safety

  Net pedophile jailed for five years

A British man described by police as the most prolific internet predator ever caught has been jailed for five years, after admitting he had tried to abduct a 14-year-old girl.

Douglas Lindsell, 64, compiled explicit sexual profiles of more than 20 girls after gaining their trust via an MSN internet chat forum, where he pretended to be a teenage boy.

Police yesterday described Lindsell as an internet groomer or predator, and said he had overtly sexual correspondence with 54 girls in Britain and 19 abroad, obtaining their private email addresses and cell phone numbers, with the express aim of persuading them to meet him.

Lindsell arranged to meet two of the girls, aged 13 and 14, and tried to entice them into his car. However, the girls fled when they saw a grown man in the driver's seat.

"The most prolific 'internet groomer' ever caught was sentenced at Kingston Crown Court," police said in a statement.

They said the case showed the dangers of chat rooms, where young girls could be befriended by so-called groomers - pedophiles who prey on children via the internet. What a nightmare. Rarents need to know what their kids are doing online if they want to keep them safe. They either need to use a monitoring program or monitor them better themselves.

"Lindsell had a system of meeting, grooming, and attracting young girls with a clear intent, and that was to commit an act of indecent assault," Detective Chief Inspector Chris Watts said.

"He was obsessive in his pursuit of underage girls, and continued to pursue them via an interactive cable channel which provided email facilities, after we had confiscated his computer."

Lindsell admitted to a series of charges: the failed abduction attempt in August; perverting the course of justice by contacting the victims and asking them to delete his text messages and emails; gross indecency with a child under 16; and two counts of sexual and threatening harassment of a girl.

The 14-year-old victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said Lindsell had entered the teenage chat room she visited and tried to find out her personal details.

She said she had not given out many details because she thought he was weird, but she had let slip enough information for Lindsell to track her down.

"I didn't give him my number or anything, but I told him what my uniform was like and the colour and stuff. Then the police told me he went to my school's web site and found my school on internet maps. He must have been trying to find me," the girl said in an interview released by the police.

"We all know we cannot watch over our children 24 hours a day, but we can make them aware of the dangers," the victim's mother said.


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