A CONVICTED sex offender who befriended an unsuspecting Bradford family in order to groom their young children has been jailed for 40 months.

Robert Buckingham was also found with dozens of indecent images of children, including a 4.5 minute clip of two 10 to 12-year-old boys engaged in sex, after police were tipped off in early 2019.

The 47-year-old, of no fixed address, was placed on the sex offenders’ register for life in 2005 for sexually assaulting boys under 13.

He was also jailed and made the subject of a lifelong sexual offences prevention order.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Robert Buckingham. Picture: West Yorkshire PoliceRobert Buckingham. Picture: West Yorkshire Police

This time, Buckingham’s tablet and mobile phone were probed by police, only to find 85 images of the highest category, showing sexual activity between pre-pubescent boys.

A further one hundred plus images were of lower categories, and police also found used children’s clothes in his home.

Bradford Crown Court heard that Buckingham had used the mobile phone to search for indecent images, but the photos and videos themselves were all uncovered downloaded to the tablet.

Later in 2019, while he was still under investigation for the indecent images, the court heard that he befriended a Bradford family with a number of young children.

He admitted possessing indecent images of children, breaching the sexual offences prevention order and failing to comply with the notification requirements of being on the sex offenders’ register.

Stephen Welch, prosecuting, said Buckingham had initially befriended the mother, and offered to drop a games console off for her children.

“He was regarded as a kind benefactor and plied the family with expensive household items.

He added that Buckingham once asked the family’s young daughter to massage his aching shoulders, with the son ending up giving the massage.

Mr Welch added that the mum felt “disgusted and manipulated” when the police told her he was a convicted sex offender.

Police were also alerted by a relative of Buckingham who was concerned about the nature of videos on his Facebook page.

John Bottomley, for Buckingham, said: “He is regretful for his actions and is ashamed of himself.”

He added that Buckingham had disclosed to a psychiatrist that he had been a victim of sexual abuse himself as a child.

He had also been diagnosed with emotionally unstable personality disorder, and had learning difficulties too, which left him vulnerable.

In sentencing Buckingham, Judge Jonathan Rose said that while he accepted that Buckingham’s childhood experiences had impacted him and affected his behaviour since, but he had already received a lengthy prison sentence for committing offences against children.

“That sentence should have been a lesson for you and yet you did not learn any lesson.”

He added: “The problem, Mr Buckingham, is that you have a sexual interest in children, boys and girls, and that is wholly unlawful.

“You have issues and difficulties - I don’t imagine you make friends easily, but that is not a reason for you to seek out the friendship of children.”

He added that looking at indecent images of children still means the child involved is suffering, just as they would suffer if Buckingham were to have touched them himself.

He outlined how Buckingham’s befriending of the Bradford family, buying toys, clothes and giving money to the children was essentially “grooming” in a effort to get them to like him as because he wanted to have sex with the children.

“You wanted to be with these children and you wanted to be with them for sexual purposes,” said Judge Rose.