Internet groomer Mohammed Iqbal, who drove 70 miles from his home in Luton expecting to meet a 14-year-old girl, has today, Friday, 30 June 2017, been jailed for three and a half years.
Judge Nigel Lithman QC passed the sentence at Luton Crown Court over a video link to Norwich prison, where Iqbal has been remanded since his conviction after trial last month.
The jury had heard how last year Iqbal, aged 32, of Cavendish Road, Luton, using the profile name of Moonwalker007, began visiting a dating chatroom called ‘Waplog.’ On the evening of 10 July he began an online conversation with a person he believed to be a 14-year-old girl called Tia. In fact, Tia was middle-aged woman named Tracey Reid living in the North East of England who, the jury was told, was engaged in exposing adults who used the Internet to groom children. She had set up a fake profile under the name of Tia0014, which showed a photo of a young teenage girl she had permission to use.
The trial heard how Iqbal began chatting online to the girl, and four days later he arranged to meet her the following evening. Tracey Reid frequently worked with Shane Brannigan and had chosen Farnham railway station as a convenient location for the meeting. Mr Brannigan said he had the details of Iqbal’s car as well as his photograph and, on the evening of 15 July last year, spotted the vehicle in The Fairfield, a side road near Farnham Railway Station. Mr Brannigan had a body camera strapped to his chest and, on reaching the defendant’s car, opened the passenger door, got in beside him and confronted him.
The court was told the police had been called but didn’t get there in time to stop the defendant leaving the scene that night and he was eventually arrested last September.
In the witness box, Iqbal said he had not set up the profile Moonwalker007 or used the dating app Waplog. He said someone must have obtained his details and his photo from his Facebook page to set up the profile and he said he had never contacted anyone using the profile name Tia0014. He agreed he had driven to the spot in Farnham that evening because he had gone to meet someone who was selling tickets over the Gumtree site for matches between England and Pakistan.