A former East Malling resident who used social media apps to befriend a young boy and make repeated attempts to meet the victim on his own is back in jail.

David Knight, 46, was previously sentenced in 2005 to more than six years’ imprisonment, for offences relating to the sexual abuse of children. He was convicted under his former name of David Thomas and added to the sex offenders register, for life.

David Knight latest

David Knight formerly named David Thomas

Upon his release from prison, he changed his name to David Knight and became the subject of new allegations made to Kent Police in August 2022. An investigation established Knight had been communicating with a child by using internet platforms including TikTok. Posting under the profile name of FireKnight2017, he sent several inappropriate and explicit messages, and expressed a desire to be with the child on their own.

Knight was arrested on 16 August. A police analysis of his phone found searches on the internet including ‘nude junior archives’ and ‘kids’ nudists chase game’. He was charged with attempting to meet a child following grooming and with failing to comply with a notification requirement (relating to the sex offenders register).

Knight pleaded guilty at Maidstone Crown Court, where a further offence of engaging in sexual communication with a child was ordered to lie on file.

On Tuesday 19 March 2024, Knight, of no fixed address, was jailed for four years and one month. He will have to serve two thirds of the sentence before he can apply for parole. Upon his release from prison, Knight will be the subject of an additional licence period of three years, as well as a sexual harm prevention order and restraining order, both for 10 years. 

Safeguarding children using internet 

PC Charlie Roberts of the West Kent Child Protection Team said:

‘The nature and content of messages sent from Knight to his young victim was hugely concerning, as was his determination to arrange for the child to spend time with him alone.

‘Thankfully, the intervention of the victim’s parents ensured police were notified meaning Knight was unable to carry out even more serious offences.

‘With most young people having easy access to the internet through phones and tablets, we continue to encourage parents and guardians to be vigilant in ensuring children understand the precautions they should take when online, including through the many instant messaging apps.

‘It is also important that children are made aware of potentially dangerous situations which can result from communicating on the internet, so that they feel confident in telling parents, teachers, or police anything which may make them feel uncomfortable or scared.’ 

By Ed

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