A Luton man has been jailed for eight years after sexually abusing a young girl and possessing extreme child pornography.
Matthew Mansfield, 37, of Axe Close, Luton, was arrested in 2016 after police received intelligence to suggest that an IP address linked to him had been sharing images of child sexual abuse.
A number of computer devices were seized and were found to have hundreds of child sexual abuse images, including almost 700 of the most severe category involving very young children.
Mansfield was charged with three counts of indecent images of children and was released on court bail pending a court appearance.
While on bail he attended Luton Police Station and confessed to sexually abusing a young girl over a period of several years in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
He was subsequently arrested and charged with nine counts of indecent assault of a child.
Yesterday, he was sentenced at Luton Crown Court to six years and eight months imprisonment for the indecent assault and one year and four months for the indecent images offences. He must serve the sentences consecutively, making a total of eight years, and then faces four years on extended licence.
Investigation Officer Dave Paton said: “Mansfield is a sexual predator of the very worst kind. His abuse of children spanned decades – from the young girl he assaulted more than 20 years ago, to the more recent sharing of indecent images.
“Child sexual abuse of any kind, including online, will not be tolerated in Bedfordshire and I hope this sends a message to others that we will catch you and you will be held accountable for your actions.
“I hope this result gives others the confidence to come forward and report sexual abuse, with the assurance that we will take action and justice can be done.”
To report child sexual abuse contact police on 101.
Bedfordshire Police works with the Lucy Faithfull Foundation to help prevent online child sexual abuse. Visit their website to find out more.
To find out more about child sexual abuse, including how to spot the signs a child may be being abused and where to get help and support, visit the NSPCC website.