June 2009

“Mr Cuddles” paedo jailed for grooming and abusing girl

A paedophile from Wandsworth who called himself “Mr Cuddles” was jailed this week for abusing an 11-year-old girl he groomed on the internet.

Alexander Beckles, 23, spent a year gaining the schoolgirl’s trust on MSN messenger after meeting her through an acquaintance.

In July last year he arranged to meet her, and despite knowing her age, took her to Hyde Park and sexually assualted her.

The following weekend Beckles told a mutual friend of the assault via text message, who told the victim’s mother.

When police searched his home, they found his phones and computers and recovered MSN messages and text messages between Beckles and the victim.

Beckles was arrested and subsequently charged on October 8 last year.

Investigating officer Detective Sergeant Gary Meek at Belgravia CID said: “The victim and her mum were very brave to come forward. It was thanks to their quick action that we were able to retrieve evidence from Beckles’ computers and mobile phones that helped to convict him.

“There is little doubt in my mind that if not caught Beckles would have gone on to prey on other youngsters.

“The case once again highlights the dangers that can be posed by social networking sites and I would like to urge youngsters not to reveal personal details about themselves or to meet with people that are, in effect, strangers.”

Beckles pleaded guilty at Southwark Crown Court to assault of a child under 13 and meeting a child following sexual grooming.

He was sentenced on Friday, June 26, to 30 months in prison and was placed on the Sex Offenders Register for 10 years.

Crown Prosecutor Gillian Travers said: “The Government strengthened laws in the area of cyber-grooming in 2003, which has enabled us to prosecute these cases robustly.

“Mindful of how much our teens and pre-teens rely on computers for gossip as well as education, we will use these laws to their fullest extent.

“The message to parents is that we will pursue these cases vigorously, and the message to perpetrators is similarly clear – you can click, but you cannot hide.”