August 2022

School bus driver jailed for trying to groom ‘child’ online

A man who worked as a school bus driver has been jailed for trying to groom a ‘child’ to engage in sexual activity online.

Daron Milton of Knowlton Road, Bournemouth sent messages to what he thought was a 12-year-old girl in an attempt to incite her to perform sex acts on herself.

The 53-year-old pervert was actually communicating with an undercover officer from West Midlands Police.

Bournemouth Crown Court heard the defendant engaged in message exchanges with the ‘girl’ between July 18 and August 13, 2020, over platforms Kik and WhatsApp.

He was eventually arrested by Dorset Police officers in September 2020 after he had completed the end of day school run in his role as a bus driver.

Prosecuting, Sadie Ruzzo said it was the defendant who first contacted the account set up by the undercover officer on the Kik messaging application.

She told the court this involved him sending a message which said: “Hi beautiful, how are you?”

Ms Ruzzo said Milton’s messaging in the weeks that followed exhibited “grooming”.

The court heard he called the ‘12-year-old’ “sweetheart” and “beautiful”.

The communication involved the defendant giving graphic instructions on how the ‘girl’ could perform a sex act upon herself.

Other messaging involved Milton repeatedly asking the ‘girl’ to send photographs of herself, while later in the exchanges he tried to call her. Conversations should the offender say that the ‘child’ needed to make sure she was alone

In August 2020 there was “reference to wanting to see the child, to meet up”, the court heard.

“He said he was a lorry driver based in London but he asked to see and meet up with the child on more than one occasion,” Ms Rizzo said.

As a result of the evidence gathered, West Midlands Police alerted Dorset Police to the IP address linked to the defendant’s online account, which was his home address.

“At the time in September Mr Milton was driving school children to and from local high schools,” Ms Rizzo said.

“Enquiries were made at the bus station and he was arrested later that day after completing the school run.”

Two mobile phones were seized and police found six indecent child images on the devices.

Milton, who was unrepresented in court, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to a charge of attempting to cause or incite a girl under 13 to engage in sexual activity and two counts of making an incident photograph of a child.