June 2020

Praise for victim’s friend who raised concerns over online groomer 

A predatory paedophile who groomed a girl has been jailed after the victim’s friend came forward to report her concerns.

Police have praised the courage shown by the friend – and said she is a shining example to others who may have similar fears about someone they know.

The friend raised her concerns with a teacher which led police to arrest 38-year-old Matthew Twitchen.

Twitchen’s victim, who has lifelong anonymity and should not be identified, was just 14 when he began to groom her online.

He told her he was 18 – he was actually in his mid-30s.

Twitchen convinced the teen to send him intimate photos before asking to meet her in Gateshead.

He took her to a car park where he told her he loved her before engaging in sexual activity.

A concerned school friend, who had seen pictures of Twitchen, failed to believe he was of teen age and confided her fears to a school teacher.

The school swiftly contacted police and the victim’s mother.
Lincolnshire Police arrested Twitchen at his home address in Boston.

On Wednesday, Twitchen appeared at Newcastle Crown Court where he pleaded guilty to sexual activity with a child, two cases of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and meeting a child following sexual grooming.

On the same day, he was sentenced to five years imprisonment, handed an Indefinite Sexual Harm Prevention Order and put on the Sex Offenders’ Register for life.