A Woolwich man who attempted to groom and meet a child for sexual abuse has been sentenced to two years’ imprisonment.
Mark Cooper, aged 35, from Woolwich in south London, believed he was engaging with a 13-year old girl online over a three-month period from November 2015, and made arrangements to meet her.
Cooper was arrested by officers from the National Crime Agency (NCA) on 9 February 2016 when he travelled to Milton Keynes from London in expectation of the meeting.
Officers found that he had booked a room at a local hotel for the two of them.
In June, Cooper was charged with attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming – and also with making indecent images of children after a number of illegal photos were found on his mobile phone. He later pleaded guilty to both offences.
On 6 September, in addition to handing down a custodial sentence , His Honour Judge Lucraft QC at the Old Bailey made Cooper subject to a 10-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order.
Martin Ludlow from the NCA said:“Mark Cooper attempted to manipulate a 13 year old into meeting him, and there is no doubt that his objective was to engage in sexual activity with that child. The NCA works continuously to protect children from dangerous individuals like Cooper, and to bring offenders to account.”
Anyone who suspects a child is being groomed can report their concerns to the NCA CEOP Command, via www.ceop.police.uk/safety-centre. Information for children and young people on staying safe online, as well as resources for parents, teachers and other professionals, is available on our dedicated education website, www.thinkuknow.co.uk.