12:16PM, Thursday 18 April 2019
A man who tried to groom underage girls online has been jailed for two years.
Dale Lucas, 27, of no fixed abode, was sentenced to two years in prison following a hearing at Reading Crown Court on Monday. Lucas pleaded guilty to two counts of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.
Between February and March 2017 Lucas contacted two teenage girls in different parts of the country online.
Through online messages with a 13-year-old, he incited his victim to engage in sexual activity with him and discussed meeting her, although they never physically met.
The contact only stopped when the victim's mother discovered his message's on the girl's iPad.
He sent graphic sexual messages to his second victim, a 15-year-old girl, and also discussed meeting with her. Again, no physical meeting took place, and the girl ended contact of her own accord.
Lucas was arrested on 29 May 2017 and after an investigation, he was charged on 15 February 2019.
As well as serving two years in prison, he will also be made subject to a 10-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order.
Investigating officer Detective Constable Rob Gibson, of Force CID based at Maidenhead police station, said: “This case highlights the dangers faced by children while they are online, and I would urge parents to monitor their online activity.
“It was only due to the vigilance of the 13-year-old victim’s mother, who found the messages on her iPad, that further harm was not done.
“Thankfully, the 15-year-old victim felt uncomfortable with the contact from Lucas and stopped talking to him of her own accord.
“Lucas entered a guilty plea at the first opportunity and I am pleased that the court recognised the danger and handed down a custodial sentence.”