1 May 2009

Mother helps catch internet offender

8:07 pm on 1 May 2009

A sex offender has been jailed for two and a half years after a mother posed as her daughter on an internet chat site to catch him.

Former teacher Malcolm Spark, 60, was found guilty of 24 charges of making or possessing objectionable publications online and was sentenced in Christchurch District Court on Thursday.

A North Island woman discovered her 11-year-old daughter chatting to the man online, and went into the chatroom pretending to be the young girl.

She passed on the lewd conversations to the Department of Internal Affairs, helping it obtain a warrant to confiscate the man's computer.

Chat logs of inappropriate conversations with hundreds of other underage girls were found on the computer.

The Department of Internal Affairs intends to appeal against the sentence, with support from the girl's mother, who says the sentence is not long enough for someone who has committed such serious offences.

It says Spark is one of the worst online predators it has seen in New Zealand.

Deputy secretary Keith Manch says Spark would groom young girls by flattering them and asking them to do sexual acts and send him details.