Police officer jailed for trying to meet eight-year-old girl and having obscene pictures


A police officer caught trying to arrange a misbehavior with an eight-year-old girl and viewing obscene pictures of a vulnerable teenager has been jailed for eight years and four months.

Lee Cunliffe, 40, was a serving officer for the Greater Manchester Police (GMP) in September 2020 when he began messaging a woman on the instant messaging app Kik, who he believed was eight years old. The girl was the mother, Liverpool Crown Court was told. on Thursday.

Prosecutors Arthur Gibson said the detective constable used the name “Steve S. McAgent 1” and told the woman, who was actually an undercover officer for the Met Police, that he would go to London to sexually abuse her daughter.

What you have done in relation to this girl and this case is shocking and strikes at the very foundation of the trust that the public has invested in the police service

Liverpool’s recorder, Judge Andrew Menry QC, said: “The kind of conduct you were contemplating with this very young child could hardly have been more serious.”

The police investigation revealed that Cunliffe had sent messages including the IP addresses of computers owned by police to Swinton police station, and he was arrested in October 2020, Mr Gibson said.

When his then-home in Bolton was searched, officers found a laptop he was using to access pornographic photos of children, including those of a “plainly vulnerable” teenage girl who died in 2018. Complaint was made to GMP, the court was told.

Mr Gibson said the girl alleged that her boyfriend took pornographic pictures of her and distributed them without her knowledge.

Cunliffe, a trainee in the CID, was assigned to the case and the suspect was arrested and his computer and phone confiscated.

He later wrote an entry on the crime log stating that nothing was on any of the equipment related to the crime, the court was told.

Mr Gibson said: “Indeed, both devices contained both static and moving pornographic images of children, reaching a total of 227.”

The computer was returned to the suspect and the pornographic photos were still on and no further action was taken.