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Parents plant spyware to snare sex predator

Court sin-bins ice hockey coach

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A 38-year-old Briton has been jailed for an underage sexual relationship with a 15-year-old girl after her father uncovered evidence by planting monitoring software on her PC.

Nicholas Lovell, from Guildford, Surrey, coached the teenager while working as an ice hockey teacher in 2006. The relationship between the two raised earlier concerns and Lovell agreed to sign an agreement with police preventing him from contacting the girl, whose identity is being withheld.

The girl's parents remained concerned, especially when she became more withdrawn and started to lie about her movements, leading them into deciding to install a monitoring program called WebWatcher on her computer. The software recorded email and IM conversations between Lovell and the girl, providing enough evidence for police to arrest Lovell for breaking his agreement to stay away from the youngster.

Lovell stood trial on child abuse offences at Reading Crown Court. He denied the offences but a jury found him guilty on five counts of sexual activity with a child, leading to a four-and-a-half-year sentence, according to local reports. The girl has undergone counselling. After initial anger with her parents over their actions, she now accepts that they acted in her best interests. ®

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