Sex offender jailed for four years

A sex offender who preyed on children at a swimming pool has been sentenced to four years in prison.

Sex offender jailed for four years

Matthew Woodgate has been sentenced to four years in prison Credit: Kent Police

A sex offender who preyed on children at a swimming pool has been sentenced to four years in prison.

In June 2013, 23 year-old Matthew Woodgate, previously of Maidstone, was sentenced to two years in prison for breaching a sexual offences prevention order that had been previously been placed against him by engaging in sexualised conversations with young boys who were using the Stour Leisure Centre in Ashford.

As part of the investigation into Woodgate police seized his computer and discovered images that had been saved in a sophisticated manner to avoid them being easily found.

Amongst the indecent images of children that were found, detectives located a picture that had been taken using the same camera that officers had seized from Woodgate. Through further investigation as Woodgate served his prison sentence, officers were able to positively identify the boy within the image and trace him.

Officers uncovered that Woodgate had met the boy at the swimming pool and that was where he had taken some of the photos on his computer. On one occasion, Woodgate took the boy, leaving his father searching the area concerned that his son had been abducted, but they later reappeared in the changing room area.

Woodgate was charged with offences of making, taking, possessing and possession to distribute indecent images of children. He was also charged with causing a child to engage in sexual activity and abduction.

Having been charged, Woodgate was sentenced at Maidstone Crown Court on 5 September to four years in prison after pleading guilty each offence, with the exception of making indecent images of children.

"Matthew Woodgate is clearly a predatory sex offender and poses a significant risk to children in our community. Despite previous convictions and orders designed to curb his behaviour he has continued to offend. I am grateful that the children he approached shared their concerns with their parents, and that they in turn told the police. As always Kent Police will take such concerns seriously and investigate, and on this occasion we were able to identify and safeguard another child. I hope that the sentence passed today will finally convince Woodgate that he cannot continue on the course of conduct that he has, and will help protect the public of Kent from him for a significant period of time."

– Detective Constable Karl Brett

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