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‘Devious sexual predator’ jailed after Gatwick arrest

The 25-year-old builder from the US was initially only questioned as part of a routine check.

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US national, Fredis Mata, 25

A man travelling to the UK from America has been jailed after intending to meet a young girl he sexually groomed online.

25-year-old Fredis Mata, a US national, was arrested on arrival at Gatwick Airport’s South Terminal on 9 February.

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During a routine check by Border Force officers, he initially claimed he had been visiting the UK to meet his 21-year-old girlfriend.

However, after further probing, Mata stated his girlfriend was 17, before finally admitting she was in fact 14.

A further interview and search revealed a large number of sex toys in his luggage, including ropes and harnesses.

“Mata is a devious sexual predator who came very close to destroying the life of a vulnerable 14-year-old girl”

Enquiries with Hertfordshire Police (Mata said he was going to stay at the Premier Inn at Welwyn Garden City) confirmed the victim as being 14 years old and living a very short distance from Mata’s intended residence.

It was also confirmed that the victim and Mata had been involved in an online relationship for several months and the nature of the conversations were very sexualised.

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Mata, a builder, of no fixed address, was subsequently charged with the following offences:

  • Causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity
  • Engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child
  • Meeting a child following sexual grooming

He pleaded guilty to all three offences at Lewes Crown Court on Thursday 1 March and was remanded in custody for sentencing.

At the same court on Thursday (12 April), he was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment, consisting of six years in custody followed by four years on licence.

His sentence was broken down as follows:

  • Causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity: three years;
  • Engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child: two years;
  • Meeting a child following sexual grooming: one year

The defendant was also given a restraining order preventing him from contacting the victim in any way.

Detective Inspector Andy Richardson said:

“The online conversations between Mata and his victim were initiated by him, and although the victim was reluctant to engage in them at times, Mata would coerce her into participating in his fantasies through emotional threats and control.

“The victim was also forced into performing sex acts via video with Mata and his intentions upon meeting the victim were very obvious. Frighteningly, their meeting had been arranged for a specific date and time.

“Mata is a devious sexual predator who came very close to destroying the life of a vulnerable 14-year-old girl, and was only prevented from doing so by the magnificent work of Border Force officers, who proactively stopped him and referred the case to Sussex Police.

“I would urge parents to be aware of what their children are doing online as predators do exist and target vulnerable children. What may start off as an innocent encounter can quickly develop into something more sinister.

“The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre provides some good advice.”

Emma Porter, Director of Border Force South, said:

“This was an excellent stop by the Border Force officer on the immigration controls, who quickly assessed that Mata’s case warranted further investigation. That vital intervention was the crucial first step towards bringing a dangerous sexual predator to justice.

“The case is a valuable reminder of just why the checks we conduct at passport control are so important. Thousands of people pass through the immigration halls at Gatwick every day and every single one is subjected to full security checks. It is challenging work but, as this case demonstrates, work that our officers do well.”

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77-year-old man critical in hospital after being robbed by 3 men in Crawley Boulevard

A despicable crime in daylight in the towns city centre.

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A 77 year-old-man is in a critical condition this evening (22nd July) after he was robbed in Crawley town centre.

Following an initial call from the ambulance service, police were called at 15:49 where the man who was on a mobilty scooter was in cardiac arrest.

Police immediately taped off the surrounding area and multiple units were called to the scene.

3 males were arrested for robbery which the police suspect took place near the public toilets close to Marks and Spencer.

The victim is currently in a critical condition after he was flown by helicopter to St Georges Hospital.

Police are still in the early stages of the investigation and are appealing for any witnesses that may have seen the incident in the Boulevard around this time.

If you have any information please contact Sussex Police using 101 and OP SALZBURG Cad no. 0959/22072018 or contact crime stoppers on 0800 555 111

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