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‘A danger to children’ - Former Met Police officer jailed for four years after grooming 14-year-old girl

PUBLISHED: 17:33 31 May 2016 | UPDATED: 17:33 31 May 2016

Gary Cawthorne

Gary Cawthorne

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Gary Cawthorne was already a registered sex offender after sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl

A former police officer from Greenhithe who groomed a 14-year-old girl and sexually assaulted her has been jailed for just over four years.

Gary Cawthorne, 53, pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual assault on a child under 16 years of age, one count of grooming and one count of a breach of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order at Southwark Crown court.

Cawthorne was already a registered sex offender after he was convicted of sexually assaulting a 16-year-old in 2012.

The former Met Police officer used the alias Lee Mason to meet his 14-year-old victim and promise her a job.

He met the vulnerable teenager on a number of occasions and sexually assaulted her during the meetings.

The abuse only came to light after a school friend of the victim found messages on her phone from Cawthorne’s alias.

Using another name, the friend contacted Cawthorne asking him for a job.

Posing as Lee, Cawthorne then requested a photo from her and she sent a facial shot. He then asked for another photo, this time of her body.

Despite her refusal, Cawthorne continued to ask for photos.

The girl then flagged up her contact with him to her parents, who then told her school.

The school notified police on Monday, 29 February, and both girls were spoken to by officers from the Sexual Offences Exploitation and Child Abuse Command, on Tuesday, March 1.

An investigation was launched and Lee Mason was identified as Gary Cawthorne through the phone number he has used to contact both girls.

He will now serve four years and five months in prison.

Det Const Tony Foran from the Met’s Sexual Offences, Exploitation and Child Abuse Command said: “Cawthorne is a known sex offender and is a danger to children - he has now been jailed for his offences.”

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