Marie Dent
Marie Dent, 44, from Clacton-on-Sea, Essex set up a profile under a false name and under this pseudonym groomed a 15 year-old boy.Essex Police

A 'predatory' mother from Essex has been jailed for three years after she posed as a teenage girl on Facebook to groom a 15-year-old boy for sex.

Marie Dent, from Clacton-on-Sea, Essex, has been sentenced to three years after she created a profile under a false name then began making friends with a number of young people, including a 15 year-old boy.

The 44-year-old began exchanging messages with the boy and the pair met twice in November and December 2016 with sexual activity taking place on both occasions, Essex Police said.

During one meeting Dent even took the boy on a "date" to the beach she bought his mother chocolates whilst wearing her hair over her face in an attempt to hide her age.

Chelmsford Crown Court heard how Dent kept a lewd video of the boy performing a sexual act stored on her mobile phone.

Essex Police said that a full download of her mobile phone revealed that the pair had exchanged a large amount of messages with some of a sexual nature.

They discovered that Dent had used a fake picture and had lied about her age on a Facebook account originally created to support a family member who believed their partner had been unfaithful.

Dent admitted to three counts of sexual activity with a child and one count of possessing indecent images of a child and was jailed for three years on Tuesday (26 September).

The teenage victim said that he was not coerced and he was a willing participant although he did not initiate any activity.

Dent was reported to police by the victim's mother who found them together in the boy's home.

Judge Emma Peters said according to The Sun: "You were looking to find solace but in entirely the wrong place.

"When people have such difficulties they don't look to children to give them solace they look to friends or appropriate agencies. Therefore whatever you went down this way, the fact you did is quite clearly criminal and deserving of punishment."

Dent has been added to the sex offenders register for life.

Detective Constable Richard English said in a statement: "Marie Dent is a predator who used a false identity on social media to make friends with someone she knew was 15.

"She deceived the victim, claiming she was the same age and, on those lies, built a friendship which became sexual.

"This was a dreadful case and I'm pleased we've been able to safeguard the victim. I hope Dent will use her time in prison to reflect on her actions and their consequences."