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Indefinite Hospital Order for ‘Dangerous Sexual Predator’ Who Posed as Security Officer

Published on: 12 Mar, 2021
Updated on: 13 Mar, 2021

A man who posed as a security officer and told two teenagers he needed to search them in the changing-rooms of a Guildford store in November 2019 was sentenced to an indefinite hospital order at Guildford Crown Court yesterday (March 11).

Although Benjamin Cooley, 22, then staying at the Surrey Probation Service’s approved hostel at St Catherine’s, was found not fit to enter a plea, the jury found him guilty of attempted kidnap and he had breached a Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

Cooley had approached the teenagers in Primark in November, 2018, saying he was a security guard and he needed to search them. The teenagers accompanied him to the changing rooms but before Cooley could act, he was challenged by a store employee.

He then walked the teenagers to another area in the shopping centre and tried to get them into a cupboard for the search. By then, they had become suspicious and asked for identification. When he couldn’t provide any, they left.

The victims told police who arrested Cooley. He has been on remand since. The Sexual Harm Prevention Order Cooley he breached had been issued against him in November 2017.

DC Pete Coe, who investigated, said: “Cooley tried to lure these two teenagers into a secluded area. Thankfully, their suspicions were raised, preventing any further offences. Cooley is a dangerous sexual predator.

“I would like to pay tribute to the two victims for their bravery in coming forward and providing evidence we needed. I hope the sentence will give them some form of closure, as well as sending a clear message that anyone who commits similar offences will be dealt with robustly.

“If you have been the victim of crime, we would urge you to report it to us straight away. You will be taken seriously and your allegation will always be thoroughly investigated.”

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