Jan 2004

‘Predator’ pervert’s Internet ban

A “predator paedophile” who groomed young girls through Internet chatrooms and ended up having sex with a 14-year-old girl from Mid Wales has been banned from using the Internet or mobile telephones.

The ground-breaking order is believed to be one of the first in the country in the battle against paedophiles using the Internet to pick up young girls for sex.

Judge Huw Daniel, sitting at Mold Crown Court, made a restraining order against railway guard Gary Geoffrey Thomas, 37, of Swadlincote, South Derbyshire, which means he must not subscribe to, or use, the Internet, or any mobile telephone of any description, for the next five years.

Thomas, who claimed he was 20, conned his way into the affections of the teenage girl from the Newtown area of Powys, and persuaded her to have sex with him four times.

He was told by the judge that he wanted to impose a swingeing sentence on him, but the law did not allow it.

Judge Daniel said it was time the law was changed as a two year maximum sentence for having unlawful sex with a girl of 14 was simply not enough.

If the victim was 13 then the maximum sentence was life and the maximum sentence for indecent assault was 10 years.

The judge told Thomas he could consider himself a remarkably lucky man because he would be jailed for 18 months.

“It is high time that was examined. The judiciary cannot do anything about it. It is a matter for Parliament,” he said.

He added: “The maximum sentence I could pass would be two years. This is the idiocy of it.”