A man from Epsom has been sentenced to 8 years and 4 months in prison after pleading guilty to sexual activity with a child and online offences against children.
Ian Jakings, 28, was arrested on 21 June 2017 on suspicion of attempting to persuade a child to engage in sexual activity.
After we received intelligence that Jakings had been talking to children through online chatrooms, Detectives from our Paedophile Online Investigation Team (POLIT) launched an investigation and arrested him at his home shortly after. He was charged with seven offences and remanded into custody.
As part of the investigation, we found that in 2011, Jakings, then 21, had been arrested by South Yorkshire Police for grooming and sexual offences against a 13-year-old girl. Jakings convinced the girl not to help police, so there was not enough evidence to charge him.
Since then, she has found the bravery to talk about her ordeal, and assisted us with the investigation.
Forensic examination of a laptop and other devices belonging to Jakings’ revealed the scale of his offending.
Further to the 2011 arrest, between 2012 and 2016, he was found to have used multiple online accounts to groom victims across the UK, originally met through online teenage chat forums.
When talking to the children, who were between the ages of 12 and 15, he would bring up subjects of a sexual nature, and would try to convince the victims to perform sexual acts for him on webcam.
Detective Constable Stephen Bosel said:
“This man targeted teenagers who wanted to talk with friends online. He lured victims into believing he was a friend to talk to before manipulating them for his sexual gratification.
“This is a very sensitive subject for the victims and I commend how brave they were in talking to us, despite the fact some of the offences date back multiple years. They should be proud that they have enabled us to bring this man to justice and prevent him from preying on other victims.
“I would urge anyone using chatrooms and social media platforms to talk with strangers to think twice before continuing their messaging. There are offenders who can use those websites to target victims, pressuring them into viewing and doing inappropriate things, putting them in a vulnerable position.
“I’d like to make it clear that we take reports of this nature seriously and we will investigate fully. Anyone with concerns or suspicions should call.”
Jakings pleaded guilty to seven offences against six victims at Guildford Crown Court on 29 January:
2 counts of sexual activity with a child
2 counts of causing and inciting a child to engage in sexual activity
2 counts of causing a child to engage in sexual activity
1 count of engaging in sexual activity in front of a child
On March 23, he was sentenced to 8 years and 4 months in prison at Guildford Crown Court and will receive a 10 year Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) and be placed on the Sex Offenders register for life.
Although the internet is a great place to talk to people, this sentencing acts as a reminder that there are perpetrators out there using it to reach their victims.
Parents can help their children understand the dangers of using the internet. Parents should talk to their children and allow them to feel comfortable with raising any issues or concerns they may encounter. Parents should model good behaviour and use of technology and make children aware that people aren’t always who they seem online.
More tips on how to stay safe online can be found on our website and on www.thinkuknow.co.uk
Online grooming is a type of Child Sexual Exploitation (CSE) that impacts both boys and girls across Surrey. It can be initiated through social media, gaming, chatrooms or other online communication. Online grooming can take a number of forms including children being exploited for indecent images or videos by adults, peers sharing indecent images with each other, and the online grooming moving into a face-to-face situation.
Victims of these types of offences are encouraged to speak up and report what has happened. Please call us on 101 (999 in an emergency) or call independent charity Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.