June 2010

Facebook fiend’s death threats to schoolgirls

A PERVERT who groomed schoolgirls on Facebook before sending chilling text messages threatening to kill and rape them has been locked up indefinitely to protect the public.

Loner Matthew Crouch, 22, used the popular website to befriend two teenage girls, including one who was 13, and tried to have sex with them.

He told one of his victims he wanted to have her baby.

As well as using Facebook, Crouch, of Lumley Court, Hebburn, also contacted two others after getting their mobile phone numbers.

But when they spurned his advances, he sent a series of menacing text messages threatening to rape, kill, and burn their homes down.

He was jailed for public protection, which means although he was given a tariff of six years and will not be eligible for parole for at least three, he could be detained for longer if he is deemed to be a risk.

Teesside Crown Court heard how Crouch first pursued a 17-year-old girl in January after getting her mobile phone number and asking her for a date.

When she refused, he sent her texts with one warning: “You’re dead.”

In February, he contacted a 13-year-old schoolgirl. They swapped e-mails and phone numbers, but the messages became sexually explicit.

When she refused to sleep with him, he told her: “I know where you live. I’m going to rape and kill you tomorrow.”

After being arrested, Crouch told police about another teenager he had groomed on Facebook.

He arranged to meet with the 15-year-old in Hartlepool.

Crouch pestered her to see him later, but she refused.

At the same time, another 15-year-old girl approached police to say Crouch groped her when she was tipsy.

But when she ended the friendship, Crouch threatened to stab her to death.

Crouch admitted two counts of harassment, arranging sexual activity with a 13-year-old, making threats to kill, two counts of sexual activity with a child and two of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity between September last year and February this year.