A mental healthcare assistant who groomed vulnerable underage patients at the clinic where he worked into sending sexualised images has been convicted.
Daniel Knight, 32, from Burton-On-Trent in Staffordshire, was investigated by the National Crime Agency after one of his victims submitted a report via the Click CEOP tool.
The teenage girl said Knight contacted her via Snapchat after they met at the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) facility where she was a patient.
He instigated sexualised chat and encouraged her to send indecent images and videos of herself. He sent her photos of himself in return and also attempted to meet her for sexual purposes, even though he knew she was underage.
NCA officers arrested Knight in April last year.
The photos he had sent the teenager did not show his face, but officers were able to prove it was him after recovering clothing from his house which matched those in the images.
The initial victim helped officers identify another two underage victims at the same CAMHS facility, both of whom reported Knight had contacted them via Snapchat.
One of them said he had offered to buy her cocaine and alcohol and meet up with her, and that she had sent Knight dozens of photos of herself.
Investigators spoke with another seven witnesses, all of whom said Knight attempted to contact them in a sexualised way. However, they never engaged in online conversations with him.
He admitted three charges of encouraging the commission of an offence and two counts of making indecent images of children at Stafford Crown Court today (26 May).
He denied one count of stalking and two counts of breaching an interim Sexual Risk Order and will face trial for these offences at the same court on 9 October this year. He will be sentenced for the offences he admitted after this trial concludes.
NCA Operations Manager Danielle Pownall said: “Daniel Knight abused his position of trust in the most deceitful way imaginable, exploiting vulnerable young girls to satisfy his sexual needs.
“I would like to thank all the victims who provided evidence to help secure today’s guilty pleas. Their bravery is commendable and shows that anyone reporting online sexual abuse to law enforcement will be listened to.
“We continue to do all we can to tackle the perpetrators of this crime type and bring people like Knight before the courts.”
Knight resigned from his position at the CAMHS facility in August 2021 following his suspension, after one of the victims reported his behaviour to management there.
The NCA’s CEOP Education programme supports parents, carers, children and the professionals to ensure young people have safe and positive experiences online.
Anyone being pressured or threatened into sending sexual images or videos online should remove themselves immediately from the conversation, not respond further to any contact, and report the matter to police or a trusted adult.
There are a range of resources available on our website, thinkuknow.co.uk, for adults – to support them in navigating the online world and conversations about it with their children, and children themselves – to help build their resilience online and learn what to do if something doesn’t seem right.
26 May 2023