Met Police terror officer ‘caught grooming 13-year-old for sex by sting operation’

Francois Olwage, a detective constable who was serving with the Met’s specialist operations unit, is alleged to have "groomed" a girl who he believed to be 13

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A Metropolitan Police counter-terrorism officer was caught attempting to meet a 13-year-old girl for sex by an undercover police sting, a court has heard.

Francois Olwage, a detective constable who was serving with the Met’s specialist operations unit, is alleged to have “groomed” who he believed to be a 13-year-old girl he had met on an online chat forum.

But Winchester Crown Court heard the 52-year-old from Stevenage, Hertfordshire, who has been a police officer since 2006, was actually exchanging messages with an undercover police officer.

His chat, which included messages on WhatsApp, began by asking the pretend schoolgirl if she had a boyfriend before saying he would like to kiss her and moving on to more explicit messages and arranging to meet her, the jury was told.

Peter Shaw, prosecuting, said: “At the time of his arrest he was a serving police officer in the Metropolitan Police Service, he was a member of the counter-terrorism command which is part of the specialist operations unit.

“He attempted to arrange to meet a 13-year-old in order to have sexual intercourse with her, this sexual intercourse was expected to take place in a flat in Basingstoke town centre.

“The plan would involve the defendant travelling to Basingstoke – unbeknownst to him the communication he had with the person he thought to be a 13-year-old girl was in fact with an undercover police officer.”

Mr Shaw said Olwage began chatting with the “girl”, who used the profile name of Smile Bear, before moving on to WhatsApp where she gave the name of Caitlin.

He said Olwage wrote to her: “I really shouldn’t be encouraging you to give out your number to strange men.”

Mr Shaw said that Olwage began by asking if she had a boyfriend before asking what she was wearing, including her underwear and what her bra size was.

He also sent her messages describing her as “cute” and her underwear as “sexy”, the jury was told.

The prosecutor said the conversation referred to the “girl” going to school and living with her mother before the defendant said to her: “I always chat about sexual stuff, you are a pretty girl so I want to chat about sexual stuff.”

The jury was told Olwage also wrote: “I enjoy chatting to you, you are cute,” and added: “I don’t think your mum will like this chat.”

Mr Shaw said: “After a reference to how she would look in her underwear, he asks how she would get to school – it’s firmly in his mind that he is talking to a 13-year-old girl.”

The court was told that as the messages become more explicit, he talks about meeting up with her and arranges to take a train to Basingstoke, Hampshire, to meet her in a park.

In a phone call to the “girl” played to the jury, the defendant could allegedly be heard saying: “I shouldn’t be encouraging you to meet strange men.”

Olwage has pleaded not guilty to engaging in sexual communication with a child and attempting to cause/incite a girl aged 13 to engage in sexual activity, arranging/facilitating the commission of a child sex offence and meeting a girl under the age of 16 following grooming.

The trial was adjourned until Tuesday.