A Metropolitan Police counter-terrorism officer has been jailed for five-and-a-half years for arranging to meet what he thought was a 13-year-old girl for sex when he was “on duty working from home”.
Olwage was locked up by a judge at Winchester Crown Court for trying to "take advantage of a vulnerable child".
Judge Jane Miller QC told him: "You were a highly regarded police officer with considerable experience.
"You were expected to uphold the law but by trying to take advantage of a vulnerable child, albeit fictional, you showed a disregard for the public trust and confidence that is held in your office."
Francois Olwage, was a detective constable serving with the Met’s specialist operations unit, and on duty working from home at the time of his offending.
He was convicted of grooming what he believed to be a 13-year-old girl he had met on the Lycos online chat forum.
But Winchester Crown Court heard that the 52-year-old defendant was actually chatting with an undercover police officer pretending to be the girl using the username of 'Smile Bear', before moving to WhatsApp using the name 'Caitlin.'
The trial heard that after two weeks of explicit sexual conversations in October 2021, Olwage, of Stevenage, Hertfordshire, arranged to meet the "girl", who had told him that she lived in Basingstoke, Hampshire.
Peter Shaw, prosecuting, told the jury that Olwage had been listed as "on duty working from home" on October 28, 2022, the date he travelled by train to Basingstoke with the aim of meeting the "girl".
Olwage was arrested at a McDonald’s restaurant in Basingstoke by two undercover officers as he was about to buy a McFlurry ice cream to take to the meeting with "Caitlin".
When searched, the officers found in his bag two condoms, a bottle of lubricant and a packet of Tadalafil erectile disfunction tablets.
There was also a box of Ferrero Rocher chocolates which Mr Shaw suggested was a present for the "girl".
Olwage told the court that he "never believed" Smile Bear was a 13-year-old girl and that he thought it was an adult "playing out a fantasy".
He also denied any sexual interest in children.
Olwage was convicted of attempted sexual communication with a child, attempting to cause/incite a girl aged 13 to engage in sexual activity, and attempting to meet a girl under the age of 16 following grooming.
Adrienne Knight, defending, said that Olwage, who had served with the Met for nine years and seven years for Hertfordshire Constabulary, had submitted a letter expressing his “sorrow for what he had done”.
She said: “There can be no doubt he was trying to find a relationship, trying to find love.
“He wasn’t looking for a 13-year-old but stumbled across it because of the way the police have encroached on these websites.
“If the police hadn’t been on Lycos that day, he wouldn’t have been before the courts.”
She added: “This isn’t entrapment but this was very close indeed.”