POLICE are urging victims of child abuse to come forward after the jailing of a Coventry paedophile who groomed single mums across the UK to access their sons.
As we reported, Steven Harrison, formerly of Westmorland Road in Wyken, was jailed for 10 years after a campaign of online grooming.
Harrison adopted the alias ‘Steven Gerrard’ in a bid to befriend football loving boys, West Midlands Police say.
He was monitored by the force’s ‘Sex Offender Managers’ following a conviction for sexually assaulting a schoolboy in June 2012.
They arrested him in October last year after uncovering social media posts suggesting he was attending a church in the city – a move bringing him into contact with children and breaching his Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO).
The force is urging others to report concerns around child sexual abuse, by calling police on 101.
It said: “Parents can visit the Parents Protect website, which is run by the Lucy Faithfull Foundation, for lots of useful resources to help prevent child sexual abuse.
The NSPCC website also has useful advice and information on how to spot the signs of child sexual abuse.”
A West Midlands Police said of the Harrison case: “Officers searched an address linked to him and recovered a hidden lap-top, photographs of children and several junior size football kits.
“Examination of the computer revealed Harrison was grooming single mums across the UK – many of whom he’d met on dating sites – in order to access their sons.
“Several photos on the laptop also showed the 44-year-old grinning in family-type poses alongside women and their children.
“The investigation led detectives to a woman in Bedfordshire who’d been spun a web of lies by Harrison to hide his criminal past.”
Luton Crown Court heard how he intimidated and threatened the woman’s 11-year-old son to stop him disclosing abuse.
Harrison was planning to take the child away on a trip before police arrested him and safeguarded the youngster.
West Midlands Police charged him with 10 counts of breaching his SHPO and jailed him for 32 months.
However, continued investigations in conjunction with Bedfordshire Police found Harrison had groomed many other boys − sexually assaulting at least one.
And at Luton Crown Court on Friday (January 18) he was jailed for 10 years.
Coventry Police sex offender manager sergeant Dan Woolley said: “Harrison created a story that he had been a semi-profession footballer and even changed his name to Steven Gerrard to assist with this façade.
“He treated boys by giving them Liverpool football kits and taking them to Anfield.
“He embedded himself into several women’s lives, grooming them into thinking he was a kind, considerate “father figure” for their sons.
“The woman we traced in Bedfordshire was totally unaware of his convictions and status as a sex offender and allowed him to access her young boys; he also befriended several of her friends and associates in that area, also with young boys.
“Harrison is a very dangerous paedophile with a voracious sexual desire for young boys.
“I’m pleased that our work has helped convict him and put him out of harm’s way for a very long time.”
Support community journalism by making a contribution
The Coventry Observer's team of journalists provide a trusted source of news, sport, entertainment and events going on in your area and issues which matter to you - both via our free weekly print edition and daily updates on our website.
Every contribution, however big or small, you can make will help us continue to do that now and in the future.
Thanks for reading this and the Coventry Observer.