Man, 21, jailed for child sex offences

A 21-YEAR-OLD man from the Chelmsford area was jailed today after pleading guilty to attempted child sex offences in cyberspace.

Roddy Ashworth

A 21-YEAR-OLD man from the Chelmsford area was jailed today after pleading guilty to attempted child sex offences in cyberspace.

Lee Gani was sentenced to a total of four-and-a-half years in prison at Chelmsford Crown Court.

He was also placed on the sex offenders' register indefinitely and made subject of an indefinite sexual prevention order.

Gani, of Nipsells Chase in Mayland, near Chelmsford, had previously admitted two counts of attempting to cause a child to watch a sexual act, one count of making an indecent image of a child, and one count of distributing an indecent photograph.

A further count of indecent exposure was taken into consideration at sentence.

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The court heard how an undercover police officer used the internet account of a girl under the age of 13 to engage in online conversation with Gani via MSN, an internet chat system.

Through these online chats, Gani asked the officer - who he believed was a young girl - to engage in sexual activity and to watch an image of sexual activity.

Reviewing lawyer for the Crown Prosecution Service, Janice Carroll said: “We are satisfied this case has reached a positive conclusion for the sake of anyone Gani has ever contacted over the internet, or anyone that he may have contacted in the future.

“We are pleased Gani was apprehended by talking to a police officer rather than a young child who could have easily been party to his fantasies by no fault of their own.

“We are grateful to the co-operation of those involved who brought this behaviour to the attention of the authorities and who could well have prevented further offences of this nature.”

Investigating officer, Dc Rob Smallcombe said: “The sentence of Lee Gani sends out a clear message to those who use the internet to search for and share images of child abuse, or who go online to approach children with a view to engage them in some form of sexual activity.

“The internet is no longer an anonymous place and those who commit crimes online will be held to account for their actions.

“Lee Gani was identified through an extensive police investigation as a person who was responsible for seeking out children for his sexual gratification and downloading indecent images of children.

“Essex Police is fully committed to the investigation of all aspects of child abuse.

“Dedicated officers who are specially trained undertake difficult and emotive investigations on a daily basis.

“Working with all professionals within the field of child protection, officers are making a difference promoting the welfare of children to protect them from harm.”