A man who used social media apps in attempts to groom a child for sex offences in Margate has been jailed.

Salman Siddiqi, pictured below, sent explicit images of himself to another user who he believed was only 14 years old.

Online exchanges were first initiated by Siddiqi on 7 January 2023, when he messaged a person, who he knew as a boy called Lee.

The conversations were clearly sexual in nature and included messages from Siddiqi relating to his desires to abuse a child.

Arranged to meet

Even though Lee made it clear he was only 14 years old, Siddiqi replied he was fine with this and after sending several indecent images arranged to meet the child at his place of work, within the grounds of Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother Hospital.

The meeting was intended to take place during the early hours of 8 January, however, unbeknown to Siddiqi, Lee did not exist – his profile was part of a fictitious account.

The 44-year-old was arrested at the scene and on the following day pleaded guilty at Folkestone Magistrates’ Court to charges of engaging in sexual communication with a child and attempting to arrange or facilitate the commission of a child sex offence.

On Friday 30 June, Siddiqi, of Hornchurch, Greater London was sentenced at Canterbury Crown Court to two years and four months’ imprisonment. He was also made subject of a sexual harm prevention order and added to the sex offenders register. 

Hugely concerning

DC Deniz Aslan, of the Paedophile Online Investigation Team, said: ‘Siddiqi made it explicitly clear that he intended to commit very serious sexual offences involving a young child and the graphic detail he included in his messages was hugely concerning.

‘We will do everything in our power to proactively target those who seek to commit sexual offences against children and ensure they receive a prison sentence. It is clear Siddiqi is a risk to the public, and he now faces the consequences of his abhorrent desires.

‘This case acts as a reminder to parents of children who have mobile phones and tablets to speak to them and help them understand the precautions they should take when using the internet, or the many instant messaging services that are available.

‘Children should only communicate with people that they know personally and report any suspicions or inappropriate advances from strangers to their parents, schools or the police.’

By Ed

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