3:52pm Thursday 22nd May 2014
By Dale Haslam
A TRANSPORT manager who travelled 200 miles from his home in Whitefield to sexually abuse an eight-year-old girl has been jailed for six years.
Phillip Matthews planned to ply the youngster with alcohol beforehand, but was trapped by a police sting.
Matthews had journeyed from his house in Kibworth Close to Central London thinking he was going to meet the young girl’s mother with whom he believed he had been chatting online.
Infact the 38-year-old, a transport manager for six years at Miller’s Vanguard in Chesham Fold Road, Bury, had been sharing his depraved fantasies on the internet with an undercover police officer, and detectives arrested him on the streets of the capital.
As Matthews began his sentence behind bars last week, police revealed how he tried to deny responsibility even when he was arrested, claiming he had travelled to persuade the woman to treat her child well.
Det Insp David Shipley, of Kent Police, said: “Matthews knew exactly what he was doing when he travelled to meet someone in order to abuse an eight-year-old child.
“His protestations after arrest that he merely wanted to tell this individual to stop ruining the child’s life shows that he knows full well the impact that such abuse can have.
"There are a number of ways he could help children, and it starts by not engaging in such vile behaviour in the first place.”
The investigation began when Matthews began talking in an internet chatroom to a man police were monitoring at the time.
Later, Matthews struck up a conversation in the chatroom with the "mother" and the pair spoke every day for several weeks, either in the chatroom, via e-mail or by phone.
Police said that during those conversations, Matthews went into great detail about what he wanted to do with the girl, making suggestions about giving the girl some alcohol beforehand.
Matthews then travelled to Baker Street, London, on March 14, to meet the "mother" so they could make the final arrangements for his visit to her house in the village of Meopham, near Maidstone, Kent.
Not long after it started, the meeting was interrupted by detectives from Kent Police’s child exploitation investigation team, who arrested Matthews.
Matthews later appeared at Maidstone Crown Court and admitted one count of arranging the commission of a child sex offence.
At a further hearing last week, Matthews ordered to sign the sex offender register for life in addition to the jail term.
He must also abide by the terms of a sexual offences prevention order, which bans him from working with children.
Det Insp Shipley said: “This case demonstrates that the drive within some people to sexually abuse children leads them to go to extraordinary efforts to ensure that their sexual desires are satisfied.
“Child sexual exploitation does not limit itself to county borders and it is important that forces work together and with agencies such as the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre to ensure they are able to respond in this way.”
Stunned former colleagues at Miller’s Vanguard revealed their shock at learning of Matthew’s hidden side.
One said: “I’m shocked. Hopefully, highlighting this can help in the fight against child exploitation.”
Louis Douglas said on Facebook: “I can’t believe I’ve worked with this guy at Millers. Six years is not long enough.”
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