Suspicious wife posed as schoolgirl to trap paedophile husband, court hears
A suspicious wife posed as a schoolgirl online to catch her husband chatting to teenagers as he groomed them for internet sex, a court heard yesterday.
Cheryl Roberts, 61, suspected her husband David was accessing chatrooms to lure girls into sex so she set up a different computer in their home to pretend she was a 14-year-old girl and caught him in the act.
A court heard she linked up with Roberts, 68, as he was in the study while she was in the neighbouring living room.
Roberts, a former pub landlord, propositioned the “girl” asking her to meet her up for sex and Mrs Roberts was so shocked by his behaviour she contacted police who seized his computer, the court heard.
Mrs Roberts, who is a mother-of-two, became suspicious about the amount of time her husband was spending in his study.
The court heard Mrs Roberts, who had been married for nearly 20 years, became suspicious when a message popped up on their computer while he was out.
Martyn Kelly, prosecuting, told the court Roberts wrote a message to her and signed it Corky, which is his nickname.
Mr Kelly said: “She realised the message on the screen was one her husband had posted to a young girl.
“She could see the chatroom he was using and decided to catch him out by creating a profile of her own to use the same internet site.
“Her husband had no idea but soon he was chatting with his own wife, believing it was a 14-year-old girl.
“She had decided to pose as a schoolgirl to confirm her fears.”He used a webcam to carry out acts of indecency on himself, which his wife could see on her computer as she was just yards away.
The court heard she did not confront her husband but called in the NSPCC and the police instead.
Police found dozens of illegal child porn images on Roberts’ home computer and he initially understood he had been caught through downloading them.
He had no idea how he was caught until weeks later when police broke the news that his own wife had informed on him, Cardiff Crown Court heard.
When interviewed, Roberts denied having sex with any schoolgirls – but admitted he was “prepared to do so”.
Byron Broadstock, defending, said: “He’s brought shame on himself and his family.
“Roberts, of Bridgend, south Wales, had admitted engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child and making and possessing illegal images at an earlier hearing.
He was given a three-year community order and banned indefinitely from having access in person or online to children under the age of 18. He must also register as a sex offender for five years.
The court heard the couple, who had been married for 18 years, have now split up and are getting divorced .Mrs Roberts has moved out of their former home and was yesterday staying with friends after the case but said she was disappointed by the sentence.
She said: “I was shocked at the sentence – I don’t think he’s got what he deserves. I thought the judge would be a lot harder and that he might go to prison.“I still feel very angry towards him. It is hard to think that a man you married could do this.“But I did the right thing and I don’t regret it. Now I just need some time to think and put all this behind me.
“Claude Knights, director of the children’s charity Kidscape, said: “This is yet another case that points to the risks posed to young people by online sexual predators.”