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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 June 2006, 14:43 GMT 15:43 UK
Web paedophile given nine years
Lee Costi
Costi arranged to meet the girl at a train station
A sex offender who was caught through an anti-paedophile website has been given a nine-year jail term for sexual grooming and pornography offences.

Lee Costi, 21, was sentenced at Nottingham Crown Court where he admitted grooming schoolgirls for sex.

Costi, from Haslemere in Surrey, was caught when a Nottingham girl told her mother about his chatroom messages.

He was the first to be caught in a police internet operation called the Virtual Global Taskforce.

The scheme, a multi-national organisation set up to tackle internet child abuse, invites youngsters to go online to report suspicious grooming activity.

Costi, a media student, was arrested after arranging to meet the 14-year-old at Nottingham railway station for sex.

'Serious abuse'

During his trial he admitted meeting three girls, aged 13 and 14, following sexual grooming.

He also admitted three counts of sexual activity with a child, two counts of making indecent images and the possession of more than 40 indecent images of children.

Nottingham Crown Court heard how Costi had had sex with a 14-year-old girl in a Swindon hotel in August 2004 after meeting her through an internet chat room.

I am concerned for the future of young people, particularly young girls with whom you come into contact
Judge Jonathan Teare

The court also heard that he had sex with another girl, aged 13, in an alleyway near London's Waterloo Station in January 2005, following a conversation on the internet.

Judge Jonathan Teare jailed him for six years for having sex with the two teenagers, and 18 months for inciting his third victim to perform sex acts over her computer web-cam.

He was also given a further 18 months in prison for possession of more than 40 indecent images of children.

The court heard that one of the images was of the most serious levels of abuse of a young girl.

The judge told Costi he had seen images on Costi's computer that showed a depraved interest in girls very much younger than 13.

"Although the hope for the future from those who have had interviews with you is high, I am concerned for the future of young people, particularly young girls with whom you come into contact."




VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
One of Lee Costi's victims speaks about her ordeal



SEE ALSO
Web paedophile caught by police
06 Apr 06 |  Nottinghamshire

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