Student, 27, jailed after asking 14-year-old for sex on Grindr. His defence? He was lonely in lockdown
A registered Oxford PhD student, 27, has been jailed after asking who he thought was a 14-year-old boy on Grindr to come over to his flat for sex. His defence was lockdown “loneliness”.
According to Metro, Shiraaz Kureembokus was caught out in a police sting operation as the 14-year-old boy he thought he was speaking to was actually a police officer. He has been jailed for 18 months and must now be listed on the sex offenders register.
Prosecutor Christopher Hewertson said that when the “boy” on Grindr told Kureembokus his age, the Oxford student, who had previously studied in Mauritius and was about to embark on his doctoral research, responded: “It’s cool, baby, I’m 27.”
After the conversation moved from the queer dating app to WhatsApp, Kureembokus asked about school and the boy’s parents, before telling him he wanted to “get kissed, get sucked and more”.
On May 5, he invited the boy over to his flat for sex. Prosecuting, Hewertson added: “The defendant was nearly double the age of the child who he arranged to have penetrative sex with.”
Police arrested Kureembokus when they saw him wandering around outside his home looking for the boy. The PhD student admitted to arranging to have sex with the 14-year-old and said it was a “moment of madness”.
Sex offender ’embarrassed’ by moment of madness.
His defence lawyer, Brid Eve, blamed his actions on “loneliness” because of the coronavirus pandemic.
She said: “He was finding lockdown particularly hard. He was very lonely and had no friends at the college.
“On that day he made a grave error, he acted in self-gratification and loneliness from what he knew was right and legal. He calls it a moment of madness.
“He has a supportive family who have worked very hard to get him to Oxford. He is embarrassed and upset that he risked his future for this. He was suspended by the college and he risks the end of his studies.”
“It is utterly devastating for him and those around him and he will find it very difficult to rebuild his life after this.”
But judge Maria Lamb did not accept that Kureembokus’s actions were driven by “loneliness”, and said that the student had ruined his future.
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She said: “It is quite apparent from that that you were working on the basis that the person you were communicating with was a 14-year-old boy.
“There was frequent reference to the age of the boy and the fact he was at school.
“It is clear what you had in mind, anal and oral sex activity with him. You are a young man who had a very promising career.
“This will have devastating consequences for you and your family. The clang of the cell door rings the loudest at the start.”
A spokesperson for the University of Oxford told Metro: “We are shocked by the actions of Shiraaz Kureembokus which resulted in his conviction and sentencing.
“Shiraaz Kureembokus was a registered doctoral student and had not yet begun his research work. The Department of Education is deeply committed to the well-being and safeguarding of children and all necessary checks are undertaken before any of our students work in schools or with children in other settings.”