A man from Luton has been convicted of a number of online child sex offences.
Jacob Freckleton, 28, a Network Rail engineer, was convicted at Luton Crown Court on Thursday, January 11, after pleading guilty to a further seven charges of online related child sex offences. He had previously pleaded guilty to eight counts in November 2017.
The court heard how he used social media apps and live streaming platforms to contact and befriend girls under the age of 13.
He had persuaded them to engage in sexual activity and recorded the activity directly to his mobile phone and laptop.
His offending was brought to the attention of police after the mother of one of the girls checked her daughter’s phone and found indecent images and messages from Freckleton.
On Thursday Freckleton pleaded guilty to four counts of causing and inciting a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity and five counts of making indecent images of children. Freckleton was again remanded in custody pending sentencing in March.
Investigating Officer Paul Baddeley, from the Internet Child Abuse Investigation Team (ICAIT) said: “Freckleton took advantage of these girls in a most abhorrent way, these are violations within their own homes.
“I’m pleased that the victims and their families will not have to face the trauma of a trial now that he has pleaded guilty.
“Child sexual abuse will not be tolerated in Bedfordshire and we’re committed to tackling offenders to prevent them from causing further harm, as well as providing support and justice to victims.
“This case is a reminder of just how important it is that we educate children on how they can protect themselves online.
“This includes not talking to anyone who they don’t know in real life, not sharing any personal information, and keeping privacy settings as high as possible.
“This list is not exhaustive and I implore parents and guardians to take an active role in educating your children about the dangers of social media.
“We’d advise parents to have a conversation with their children about online safety, and make sure that they feel comfortable in speaking about anything they see online which makes them feel uncomfortable.”
Bedfordshire Police works closely with the Lucy Faithfull Foundation to help tackle and prevent child sexual abuse and recommends adults teach the SMART rules to their children:
Secrets - these can be good fun, but if they make us sad or confused it’s best to check them out with Mum or Dad or someone else you trust.
Mates - take someone with you when you are going somewhere and stay together.
Always tell your parents, carer or someone else you trust where you are going, who you are with and when you will be back.
Respect your body and remember it is private. No one has the right to touch you on your private areas (those covered by your swim suit).
Tell your parents, carer or someone else you trust if someone or something makes you feel uncomfortable or frightened.
Parents can visit the Parents Protect website, which is run by the Lucy Faithfull Foundation, for lots of useful resources to help prevent child sexual abuse.
It also contains a list of organisations and resources focusing on keeping children safe in the digital world.
To report concerns around child sexual abuse call us on 101.