Man who targeted girls from Rutland jailed for string of sexual offences

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A man who used pictures of a US pop star to groom teenage girls online before having sex with some of them has been jailed for 10 years.

Ian Sluggett, 40, of Whetstone, near Leicester, created a Facebook page with pictures of 16-year-old American pop star Austin Mahone to befriend girls aged 13 to 16.

He sent indecent images to girls and persuaded them to send images of themselves. He also met and had sex with some of the girls.

His activities were only uncovered after a teacher overheard two pupils talking about how one was being coerced into sending indecent photos.

Sluggett pleaded guilty to 23 charges including making indecent photos of a child, meeting a child following sexual grooming, and sexual activity with a child. The charges related to six girls, aged between 13 and 15, from Rutland, Melton and Leicester.

The divorced father-of-three was sentenced to 10 years in prison at Leicester Crown Court on December 6.

He was also given a 15-year sexual offences prevention order, which places various restrictions on him such as banning unsupervised access to children, and forcing him to give police access to any computer he uses.

Det Insp Richard Hiom, from Leicestershire Police’s Child Sexual Exploitation Team, said: “This case is very sad as it raises a number of issues around the use of the social media and the internet.

“Young people need to understand that there are people who will lie on social media sites to satisfy their own sexual needs.

“In this case Sluggett knew that girls were more likely to talk to him if he was ‘friends’ with someone they actually knew.

“Our advice is to only have friends on social media sites that you actually have previously met and know.”

Sluggett’s offences were: making indecent photographs of a child (10 counts); distributing indecent photographs of a child (one count); meeting a child after sexual grooming (two counts); attempting to meet a child after sexual grooming (one count); sexual activity with a child (two counts); causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity (one count); attempting to cause a child to engage in sexual activity (five counts); and engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child (one count).