November 2011

Ex-councillor jailed for grooming

A Labour councillor with close links to Harriet Harman and Tessa Jowell has been jailed for attempting grooming an underage girl for sex.

A 52-year-old Londoner has been jailed for 15 months after he was caught attempting to sexually groom a child online.

Scotland Yard said that John Friary, of Camberwell Road, SE5, was sentenced last Friday at Isleworth Crown Court.

Friary, a former Labour councillor, was snared by a blackmailer posing as a 15-year-old girl on internet chat rooms.

Officers from Hertfordshire Police had been investigating Peter Simms, who pleaded guilty to blackmail at St Albans Crown Court and was subsequently jailed for 21 months in May this year.

They flagged Friary – a blackmail victim of Simms – to the Met’s Paedophile Unit.

“Inquiries revealed that Friary was one of the individuals Simms had been in contact with,” said the Yard.

“Conversations between the pair involved Friary’s attempts to make arrangements to meet the individual – believing him to be a 15-year-old girl – with the intention of committing a sexual offence.”

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