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'Predatory sexual offender' jailed after using app to target vulnerable nine-year-old girl as police warn parents to be vigilant

Glen Friend was arrested as he left prison, having served time for breaching sex offender notification requirements

A convicted paedophile has been jailed after inciting a young girl into sexual activity over a live streaming social media application.

The app, Live.Me, is extremely popular with children and this is believed to be one of the first successful convictions by the Metropolitan Police relating to the misuse of the app in a bid to gain access to children and groom them.

Glen Friend, 28, from the Walthamstow area but of no fixed address, was sentenced to four years behind bars on Monday (August 14) at Snaresbrook Crown Court.

He pleaded guilty at a hearing on Saturday August 5 to inciting a girl under the age of 13 to engage in sexual activity, and breaching a Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

Friend was also given a two-year extended supervision order.

Glen Friend was sentenced to four years in prison(Image: Metropolitan Police)

 

Users of the app have limited control over who views their posts and videos, and according to the police it is the fastest growing app of its type in the world.

Detective Sergeant Fenton Davis, from the Waltham Forest Jigsaw Unit, warned parents need to be more vigilant.

He said: "This application is extremely well-used by children.

"Those who register seek to gain 'likes' and 'electronic gifts' from other users.

"The more they receive, the higher their status within that online community."

He added: "Parents should be ever vigilant of their child's activity on social media sites, particularly in regard to video streaming apps.

"This conviction clearly demonstrates that people who use these streaming sites for criminal means, in particular to commit sexual offences, will be tracked down and prosecuted for their actions.

"The safeguarding of children continues to be a priority for the Met. Working with partner agencies, we will strive to prevent vulnerable victims from being exploited."

Police arrested Friend as he left prison on Friday August 4 after an intelligence-led operation alerted officers to his engagement with a young female on the app.

He had been behind bars serving time for breaching sex offender notification requirements.

During May 2017, Friend was involved, along with other users, in encouraging the nine-year-old girl into exposing intimate parts of her body.

The girl posted a video on the app, proving his persuasion, which was viewed by almost 300 users until Live.Me took the video down following a police request.

Detective Sergeant Fenton Davis said: "Glen Friend is a predatory sexual offender, who targeted a vulnerable victim via this app.

"Offenders who seek to hide behind an online username in an attempt to hide their identity will be relentlessly pursued by investigators.

"We would like to thank South Yorkshire Police for their assistance with our investigation in helping to identify the child concerned.

"The amount of damage this type of encounter causes to these very young victims can be extensive.

"It became apparent from our talks with the girl in this case that she is easily upset and very sensitive after what she has gone through."

Police say enquiries continue to identify the other app users involved.

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