Stratford man who tried to sexually groom child 'is calculated and callous'
PUBLISHED: 14:56 21 September 2019 | UPDATED: 14:56 21 September 2019
A 50-year-old man who pretended to be a teenage boy online in order to groom children has been jailed following a proactive operation by the Metropolitan Police.
Graham Rycraft, of Honour Lea Avenue, Stratford, was sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Friday, September 20 to six years in jail, with a further four to be served on licence.
He had been found guilty on May 24 following a trial for attempting to meet a child under the age of 16 following sexual grooming, attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child under the age of 16, attempting to cause a child under the age of 16 to watch a sexual act, distribution and making of indecent images of children.
In September 2018, Rycraft began speaking online to what he thought was a child, but was actually a Metropolitan Police officer using an online persona to target predatory offenders.
Rycraft initially claimed he was a 15-year-old boy and then sent Category A images of child abuse, before admitting that he was an adult and continuing to groom the "child".
He arranged to meet the "child" but was cautious of his security and went to great lengths to keep his identity hidden.
He was arrested on September 5, 2018, in a phone box having just confirmed to the "child" where he wanted her to meet him.
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An unregistered mobile phone was found in the phone box, which Rycraft denied all knowledge of.
Officers searched his workplace and found a bag containing condoms and Viagra.
Rycraft was charged the following day and remanded in custody.
During sentencing the judge assessed Rycraft as a dangerous offender and a risk to children, imposing the extended licence period of four years.
Det Insp John Halford, of Central Specialist Crime, said: "Rycraft is a calculated and callous man who sought to groom children for his own sexual gratification, taking steps to ensure his own security in the assumption that he would not be caught.
"In actual fact he had encountered officers carrying out a proactive operation aimed at bringing those who seek to exploit and abuse children to justice. He will now spend years behind bars, where he belongs.
"I am proud of the dedicated team of officers involved in this operation who have worked so hard to put a dangerous offender in prison and are continually working to safeguard and protect the children of London."