A sex offender from Chatham who offered money to children he groomed and abused has been jailed for 13 years.
Matthew Lockwood used social media apps to target and manipulate teenage boys as young as 13.
Lockwood, of Edgewater on St Mary’s Island, accessed online platforms including Snapchat and Grindr during a campaign of abuse between 2016 and 2023. He was arrested in February 2023 and an investigation linked the 47-year-old to a catalogue of offences, which included sexual activity with at least four children.
At Canterbury Crown Court, Lockwood pleaded guilty to 22 counts. These included charges of sexual activity with a child, paying for sexual services of a child, sexual exploitation of a child, and sexual communications with a child. He also admitted offences relating to the possession and distribution of thousands of illegal images of children, many in the most serious category and which included videos of some of the victims he had contact with.
This case is A reminder to parents who have mobile phones and tablets to speak to them and help them understand the precautions
Lockwood was sentenced on Friday 12th January 2024 to 13 years in jail. He was added to the Sex Offenders’ Register for life and handed a 15 year Sexual Harm Prevention Order.
Investigating officer Detective Sergeant Terry Hanlon, of Medway’s Missing and Child Exploitation Team said ‘Lockwood targeted and groomed young vulnerable children through social media before persuading them to meet with him. He is clearly a dangerous and predatory offender and the lengthy sentence reflects the gravity and depravity of his actions’.
‘I wish to commend the courage of all these victims in supporting this investigation and ensuring Lockwood has been held to account for his appalling actions. If anyone has been a victim of any sexual offence it is never too late to report this to the police. We will always treat any information with the utmost confidence and sensitivity’.