A man who interacted with a 12-year-old girl over the internet with the intention of sexually exploiting her has been sentenced at Kingston Crown Court.
Matthew Eglinton - 26 (17.05.91) of no fixed abode but from the Surbiton area was sentenced to two years' imprisonment, suspended for 18 months on Friday, 18 August after pleading guilty to cause/incite a girl under the age of 13 to engage in sexual activity with no penetration.
He will also be made to sing the sex offenders register for ten years.
Eglinton met the girl in July 2016 in Surbiton and despite knowing her age began to communicate with her via Facebook, instigating a relationship with her.
He encouraged her to meet him in his back garden and then in a local park. During these meetings Eglinton and the girl would kiss and cuddle.
As their relationship developed, Eglinton began to send messages of a sexually explicit nature to the girl.
By late September 2016, the girl's parents became aware that their daughter was leaving the house at night and discovered communication between the pair. They confronted Eglinton and ordered him to stop seeing their daughter.
Once the girl returned to school, she confided in a staff member about what had happened and police were called.
Officers went round to Eglinton's address but he had moved out; however - he subsequently attended a police station and was arrested them charged.
DC Huw Jones of Twickenham Police led the investigation - he said:
"Matthew Eglinton deliberately targeted a vulnerable girl for the purposes of his own sexual gratification. If his actions hadn't been discovered there is little doubt that he would have carried on with his efforts to exploit this child."