Web ‘sting’ Sutton OAP trying to meet teenage girl jailed
A RETIRED university lecturer who drove to a Nuneaton park expecting to meet a 15-year-old girl for oral sex has been jailed after his case was delayed for him to receive cancer treatment.
In fact 15-year-old ‘Jodie,’ who Maurice Ingram had been expecting to meet following explicit online chat, did not exist, Warwick Crown Court was told.
He had been snared by ‘self-appointed vigilantes’ who had invented Jodie and confronted him with a video camera when he turned up at Hartshill Hayes Country Park in Nuneaton.
Ingram, aged 67 of Harman Road, Sutton Coldfield, who had admitted arranging to meet a child following sexual grooming, was jailed for 12 months.
Judge Sylvia de Bertodano also ordered him to register as a sex offender for ten years and made him subject to a sexual offences prevention order restricting his contact with children.
Ingram had been caught as a result of a ‘sting,’ and prosecutor Patrick Sullivan explained: “Kieran Parsons and David Riley have decided to actively hunt online sexual predators.
“To that end, Kieran Parsons set up a profile on a social chat network purporting to be a girl called Jodie from Nuneaton.”
The site was for over-18s, and Jodie’s profile was accompanied by a photograph of a girl who was 18-plus, ‘but the intent was that as soon as someone contacted her, she would point out her purported age of 15.’
Two days after Jodie’s profile had been set up, Ingram made contact with her using the handle ‘Mike 61’ and told her: “You look gorgeous. Shame I’m too old for you.”
The reply came back: “I’m 15, and I like older men.”
Ingram responded that she sounded ‘perfect’ and that he would ‘love to misbehave’ with her; and was told she was thinking the same.
They then went on to discuss meeting, during which Ingram said he ‘likes lots of oral,’ and arranged to meet.
In one of his last messages before setting off for Hartshill Hayes Country Park, Ingram wrote: “I’m a bit scared; you’re so young. I don’t want to get into trouble.”
But he turned up anyway – and was confronted by Kieran Parsons and his friend who recorded the encounter as Ingram eventually admitted being there to meet the girl, but claimed he was going to tell her he did not want to go through with it.
And Judge de Bertodano said: “The reason it did not succeed was merely because the girl was not real; it wasn’t a change of mind.”
At an earlier hearing in July the case was adjourned after the court heard Ingram, was due to undergo radiotherapy for an acute form of cancer.
The judge on that occasion, Judge Alan Parker said that to jail Ingram straight away ‘might be sentencing him to death,’ but warned him that the eventual outcome was still likely to be a sentence of imprisonment.
Laura Cully, defending, said Ingram ‘is still a severely ill man,’ and although he has finished the radiotherapy course, which has itself caused side-effects, he has not yet had the blood tests to show how successful it has been.
But Judge de Bertodano observed: “There is nothing I have read which suggests he would not be strong enough to serve a custodial sentence.”
Miss Cully pointed out that when he was first arrested Ingram was told by the police that they would caution him, but then changed their minds and charged him.
At the time he was at a low point in him life and was beginning to suffer the symptoms of prostate cancer, although it had not yet been diagnosed.
“He started talking to adult women on the internet and not all were sexual. He was trying to reach out and make friends – and this particular conversation came about with someone who initially purported to be an adult.
“Where Mr Ingram went wrong is that when she said she was not an adult, he continued the conversation. It was a day of complete madness.
“Mr Parsons is a self-styled, self-appointed vigilante who filmed it and put it on the internet where it quickly had 80,000 hits.”
Miss Cully said Ingram had been a respected senior university lecturer for 25 years until he retired.
But since that day ‘his life has completely fallen apart,’ and he has lost good friends and neighbours, has had to install extra security measures at his home and is trying to move from the area.
Jailing Ingram, Judge de Bertodano told him: “The reason you are here is because you were trying to meet a young girl on a chat site.
“It is extremely fortunate there was no real girl in this case – but there might have been. We see regularly in these courts cases where real 15-year-olds are targeted in this way.
“I have no doubt that if the girl had existed the acts envisaged would have taken place.
“To say it is unfortunate you find yourself in this position is an understatement. You are a highly respectable man, and you have suffered consequences as a result of this, and you suffer from a severe medical condition.
“I have given it very careful consideration, but I cannot possibly suspend the sentence in this case.
“It is a case in which the public interest must outweigh the personal mitigation. A message must go out that if adults try to meet children for sex, they must go to prison.”
Pervert pensioner snared by paedophile sting