Southend man jailed for attempting to meet child he groomed online

Mick Ferris

A man who used a false identity to arrange to meet someone he thought was a 13 year-old girl has been jailed.

Sean Stifman posed as ‘Robert Austin’ on social media to speak to three people he thought were 13 and 14 year-old girls in October last year.

On each occasion the conversations became sexual in nature and, in one instance, he arranged to meet one of the people he thought was a 13 year-old girl.

In reality, the people he had been speaking to were all adults and when he went to meet the girl at Southend Railway Station on October 13 he was confronted and arrested.

Stifman, 29, of Norwich Avenue, Southend, was later charged with three counts of engaging in sexual communication with a child, three counts of attempting to cause or incite a girl aged 13 to 15 to engage in sexual activity, and one count of attempting to a meet a girl under 16 following grooming.

He admitted the charges at Southend Magistrates’ court on October 15.

At Basildon Crown Court on Thursday January 2, he was sentenced to two years, half to be spent in prison and half to be spent on licence, and put on the Sex Offenders’ Register for 10 years.

Investigating officer PC Harriet Bowden, from Southend CID, said: “Sean Stifman is a dangerous sex offender who used an alias to start talking to people he thought were underage girls.

“On each occasion, the other person specifically told him they were 13 or 14 yet he continued the conversation and escalated it in a sexual manner.

“He knew what he was doing and his actions were calculated and planned.

“Fortunately there were no young girls on the end of these messages, but I have no doubt that by bringing Stifman to justice we have protected children from potential abuse.”

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Mick Ferris

Editor Email: mickferris@yellowad.co.uk