A former university lecturer who came to London with a children’s book intending to sexually abuse a 6-year-old girl has been jailed. 

At the time of his trip to Stratford, 73-year-old Dr Keith Firman was on licence having served a six-year prison sentence for abusing another young girl. 

Using a chat platform under the username ‘Grandad’, Firman contacted a woman who claimed to have a six-year-old daughter. 

Firman arranged to meet with the mum in east London and discussed how he would abuse her daughter, prosecutor Deepak Kapur said. 

On May 26 this year Firman arrived in Stratford from Southampton armed with a children’s book to read to the child. 

However, the woman he had been speaking to was an undercover officer and Firman was arrested as he walked towards the house he believed the girl lived in. 

When officers checked his phone they found he had also been in conversation with another undercover officer who was posing as a 13-year-old girl in Derby. 

During this discussion he referred to himself as ‘naughty teacher’. 

When interviewed by officers Firman said he knew this was going to happen and that he shouldn’t have come. He added that he “just couldn’t help himself”. 

Defending Firman at a sentencing hearing at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Thursday (October 26), Lynton Orrett said his client didn’t plan to sexually abuse the six-year-old girl when he travelled to Stratford. 

“He said all he would have done is read to the child, had the child on his knee and really used that occasion as, I wouldn’t say to break the ice, but as an introduction to that child on that day. Whether anything would have come later down the line the defendant doesn’t know,” Mr Orrett said. 

Throughout his life Firman had worked as a molecular biologist, researching nanotechnology and DNA. He also lectured at the University of Portsmouth. 

Firman, of Suttones Place in Southampton, was first outed as a sex offender in 2014 when he admitted 21 counts of possessing, making and distributing sexual photos of children. He was jailed for 15 months. 

Two years later, in 2016, he was jailed for six years for three counts of indecent assault against a girl in the late 1980s and 1990s. The girl was aged between eight and 10. 

Judge Timothy Greene said: “You are an intelligent man and you knew there was a risk that this was a trap but you were so desperate to abuse that 6-year-old girl that you took that risk anyway. 

He added that Firman seemed to think this abuse was “perfectly natural”. 

Judge Greene said: “You’re not really remorseful. You think you were tricked into committing these offences.” 

He sentenced Firman to four years and four months with an extended licence period of four months. 

Judge Greene also ordered Firman to sign the sex offenders register for the rest of his life.