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Man jailed for rape after online grooming

14 November 2012

A man who raped a 12-year-old girl, after posing online as a teenage girl, has been jailed for over 14 years.

Gary Cooper, 47, pleaded guilty at Winchester Crown Court to sexual grooming and rape after he fabricated a profile in a social network site in which he purported to be a 15-year-old girl called Chantelle.

Passing sentence, the judge called Cooper "highly manipulative". The court heard how Cooper had used the online site to meet his victim in July 2011 and then took her to Hertfordshire where he raped her.

After being reported missing, the girl was found by Hertfordshire Police the following morning. A police investigation uncovered a series of offences against the 12-year-old and another girl to which Cooper pleaded guilty.

Det Insp Dave Storey, of Hampshire Constabulary, said:
"This incident highlights the ease with which online paedophiles can use social networking sites to communicate with children and parents should be mindful of who their children are communicating with and any arrangements that are made following contact."

BBC © 2012