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A man has been jailed for six years after grooming children for sex over the popular messaging app Kik. Andrei Bilibok, 32, was sentenced today September 17 after pleading guilty to crimes he committed against two teenage girls. The Romanian man was jailed for two counts of sexual communication with , two counts of meeting with following sexual grooming and sexual activity with . Bilibok, a man described as "of good character", targeted and preyed upon vulnerable children who he befriended over the anonymous messaging app.
Police became aware of the extent of Bilibok's crimes when he was arrested on suspicion of stalking a year-old girl he had already groomed. Already an extremely vulnerable girl from a troubled background, Bilibok began chatting to her through Kik in a group dedicated to teenagers struggling with self-harming. He flattered her and paid her attention and sexualised the conversation soon convincing her to meet.
Crown prosecutor Miss Cornwall said Bilibok had picked the girl up from a main road in Bristol bearing gifts of donuts and on other occasions sweets and flowers before driving to a location where they had unprotected sex in his car. This was confirmed for police in messages from Bilibok following the incident in which he talks about the possibility of an unwanted pregnancy.
The grooming continued for some time but in September when the girl returned to school she had tried to distance herself from him becoming increasingly worried about his persistent messages. Despite blocking him and then changing her phone he continued to "bombard" her with messages and in one frightening incident turned up at her school and waited for her outside in his car. When she saw him the schoolgirl ran over to a teacher and begged for his help to get away from Bilibok and explained that he had started following her and she was scared of him.
After the incident was reported officers showed up at Bilibok's home in Redcliffe and seized his iPhone but the defendant refused to supply them with the PIN code. He had messaged a of children most had chosen not to engage with him but three had, including a young boy. Hundreds of messages between Bilibok and the year-old boy were found including sexually explicit pictures. Despite his arrest, Bilibok carried on talking to another girl, a year-old, as soon as he was released.
She too was vulnerable and like the other schoolgirl had told Bilibok of her difficulties being bullied at the time and body image issues. He flattered her and showed her sympathy and quickly turned the chat sexual, sending her images of his genitals. But, she decided against meeting him despite his insistance. The effect of Bilibok's crime s on his victims has been immense and resulted in one of the girls having to move school and becoming scared to enter areas of Bristol.
And police have since found another iPhone in his possession which he has again refused to give up the PIN for. Officers believe once they have cracked it the information on it could lead to further charges being brought against the defendant. Today His Honour Judge Patrick made Bilibok the subject of an indefinite Sexual Harm Prevention Order after a pre-sentencing report said the defendant was a "danger" to children and had the potential to reoffend. His defence counsel Mr Haskell asked for the order to not be made an indefinite one so his client had hope for the future.
However, Judge Patrick refused adding that he had put in place the order instead of an indefinite sentence. Bilibok, who moved to the UK in , claims he does not have a sexual attraction to children and committed the offences during a difficult period in his life but the judge rejected his claims. Judge Patrick said: "You targeted and exploited three children using social media, each of them were vulnerable and had their own problems which you knew.
You were a grown adult male and you knew what you were doing. Bilibok was handed six years in prison and is expected to serve half his sentence in prison and the rest in the community. Chief Constable Simon Bailey said "children are at risk" on the app after NSPCC revealed the of referrals police were receiving relating to the app had quadrupled over two years.
In the same month, the BBC reported the Kik chat app had been "involved in 1, child abuse cases" across 28 police forces in the UK. Police have accused Kik of being unhelpful during investigations by not releasing information which could prevent or stop being abused and possibly aid them in apprehending a paedophile.
Kik which is a Canada-based company is subject to strict rules on releasing personal information to law enforcement, much like in the US. In comments the company has said it will release information only if there is an "imminent threat of death or serious physical injury to any person".
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