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Man jailed for online child sex offence

News   •   Aug 14, 2017 14:48 BST

[Glen Friend]

A convicted paedophile who incited a young girl into sexual activity over a social media live streaming application popular with children has been jailed for four years today, Monday, 14 August.

Glen Friend, 28 (19.12.88), of no fixed abode but from the Walthamstow area, was sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court, having pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing on Saturday, 5 August to inciting a girl under 13 to engage in sexual activity, and breaching a Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

Friend was also handed a two year extended supervision order.

The case is believed to be one of the Met's first successful convictions relating to misuse of the highly successful 'Live.Me' app to gain access to young children in a bid to groom them. The app is one of the fastest growing of its type worldwide and users have limited control over who views their posts/videos.

Friend was arrested on Friday, 4 August as he left prison having served time for breaching sex offender notification requirements.

He was caught after an intelligence-led operation directed officers to the fact that he was engaging with a young female user on the Live.Me service.

The Sexual Harm Prevention Order that Friend was subject to expressly forbade him to communicate with any individual under 18 years of age via social media/the internet, among other stipulations.

During May 2017, Friend was heavily involved, along with a number of other users, in encouraging the nine-year-old child into actions including exposing intimate parts of her body.

The video the girl posted online which proved his incitement of her was viewed by almost 300 users and remained available to watch until its removal by Live.Me following a police request. Enquiries continue to identify the other users who participated.

Detective Sergeant Fenton Davis, from the Waltham Forest Jigsaw Unit, said: "This application is extremely well used by children. Those who register seek to gain 'likes' and 'electronic gifts' from other users. The more they receive, the higher their status within that online community.

"Glen Friend is a predatory sexual offender, who targeted a vulnerable victim via this app. Offenders who seek to hide behind an online username in an attempt to hide their identity will be relentlessly pursued by investigators.

"We would like to thank South Yorkshire Police for their assistance with our investigation in helping to identify the child concerned.

"The amount of damage this type of encounter causes to these very young victims can be extensive. It became apparent from our talks with the girl in this case that she is easily upset and very sensitive after what she has gone through.

"Parents should be ever vigilant of their child's activity on social media sites, particularly in regard to video streaming apps.

"This conviction clearly demonstrates that people who use these streaming sites for criminal means, in particular to commit sexual offences, will be tracked down and prosecuted for their actions.

"The safeguarding of children continues to be a priority for the Met. Working with partner agencies, we will strive to prevent vulnerable victims from being exploited."