A man from Blackburn was sentenced after attempting to groom girls he thought were 13 and 14 years old and asking them to send him explicit images of themselves.
Despite knowing the girls’ ages, Suleman Mahmood, 28, continued to send them sexually explicit messages.
Mahmood had been communicating with decoys from the Online Child Abuse Activist Group (OCAAG). On the evening of September 20, 2019, members of the OCAAG went to Mahmood’s home in Dukes Brow to prove he was the person sending the messages.
Officers arrived at Dukes Brow and arrested Mahmood, who signed a statement at the scene saying, “I will be honest. I made a huge blunder. I had no plans to meet them. I just wanted to meet new people. I was aware they were underage.”
During the police interview, Mahmood did not respond to any of the questions posed to him.
Detectives were able to establish that Mahmood believed he was talking to underage girls when he sent the highly sexualised messages and had incited them to engage in sexual activity with the help of the OCAAG and extensive investigation of digital evidence.
It was determined that the offences occurred between September 2, 2019, and September 10, 2019.
After consulting with the Crown Prosecution Service, Mahmood was charged in September 2020 with attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child, attempting to cause / incite a girl aged 13 to 15 to engage in sexual activity, and attempting to cause a child aged 13 to 15 to watch / look at an image of sexual activity.
Mahmood, of Dukes Brow, Blackburn, was scheduled to appear in court in May of this year. However, in April, he pleaded guilty to the aforementioned offences.
Judge Graham Knowles QC sentenced Mahmood to five years and eight months in prison last week at Preston Crown Court. He also made him sign the Sex Offenders Register for life and subjected him to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order, limiting his internet access and interaction with children.
DC “Mahmood is a sexual predator who attempted to groom and engage in sexual activity with underage girls,” said Claire Scott of East CID. When he committed these crimes, he truly believed – as told by the decoys – that he was conversing with real children. Despite knowing this, he continued his heinous behaviour. I am pleased with Mahmood’s sentence because it reflects the danger he poses to teenage girls. The court orders imply that Mahmood will be monitored by authorities after he is released from prison.
“We will continue to pursue and bring to justice, with the public’s assistance, those who seek to abuse children for sexual gratification.”
I’d like to express my gratitude to OCAAG for their assistance throughout this investigation. If anyone has concerns about someone, I would always advise them to contact the police in the first instance. We will thoroughly investigate those concerns and gather evidence to prosecute anyone who attempts to abuse children.”