Online sex offender from Failsworth jailed for nine years
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A man who attempted to sexually exploit a teenage girl through social media has been jailed.
Christopher Edwards was sentenced at Liverpool Crown Court on Friday 12 March where he was jailed for nine years.
The 37-year-old from Failsworth had earlier pleaded guilty to engaging in sexual communications with a child, attempting to meet a girl under the age of 16 following grooming and breaching a sexual risk order.
The charges relate to social media activity between Sunday 1 November and Tuesday 22 December.
Edwards groomed a teenager from Warrington, through social media.
Edwards was well aware that the girl from Warrington he was grooming was only 14 years old, yet he still sent her a number of sexually explicit images and messages.
In one of the messages he told the girl that he had booked a hotel room in Warrington and offered to pay her for sex.
The victim reported the messages to Cheshire Constabulary.
A warrant was subsequently arrested at Edwards’ home in Failsworth on Friday 15 January and he was arrested.
Following the sentencing, Police Constable Hannah Barton, of Warrington Problem Solving Team, said: “Christopher Edwards contacted his victim through social media and, despite being well aware that she was only 14 years old, he bombarded her with messages of a sexual nature.
“He even went as far as to book a hotel room in order for the pair to meet and said that he would pay her for sex.
“Thankfully, the victim contacted police before any meeting took place and an investigation was launched by the team here at Warrington, which ultimately led to Edwards’ arrest and conviction.
“This case highlights the dangers of social media.
“I hope that it acts as a reminder for all parents and guardians to warn their children of the dangers of communicating with people via social media, to check that they are using it safely and to keep an eye out for any warning signs of sexual exploitation.”
Edwards was also ordered to serve an extended sentence of seven-and-a-half years on licence, which will begin upon his release from prison.
For advice on identifying signs of sexual exploitation visit https://www.cheshire.police.uk/advice/advice-and-information/caa/child-abuse/child-sexual-exploitation/.
To report a sexual offence call Cheshire Constabulary on 101. Information can also be given online at https://www.cheshire.police.uk/ro/report or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.