March 2015

Paedophile trapped by group posing online as girl, 14, called ‘Little Laura’


A paedophile caught by an online group has been jailed for 18 months.

Gary Irving, 52, chatted to a person he thought was a 14-year-old calling herself ‘Little Laura’ on an online forum

The pervert sent her explicit sexual messages, offered her gifts and arranged to meet.

But Liverpool Crown Court heard he had really been talking to a member of Online Paedophile Investigators (OPI), based in Yorkshire.

Henry Riding, prosecuting, said: “They are a group of individuals who consider police are not doing enough to investigate the scourge of paedophiles operating online on internet chat rooms.”

The court heard OPI uploaded a fake account to the social networking service using a photograph of a little-known American child actress.

Mr Riding said the website is meant to be for over 18s only, “but little or no checks are made of the age of people using the site”.

Irving spoke to ‘Little Laura’ from May 21 to August 11 – the day he drove to meet her in the car park of Eureka! children’s museum in Halifax.

Mr Riding said messages showed that from the outset she said she was 14 and they talked about her young age, school lessons and her being scared about their relationship being discovered by teachers or her parents.

But Mr Riding said when he arrived at the museum, to his “undoubted surprise”, he met with a member of OPI who was “anything but a 14-year-old girl” and filmed the encounter.

Police were informed and arrested Irving, who initially claimed he thought she was 18 and the talk of her being a child was “a fantasy”.

Irving, of Cad Beeston Mews, Beeston, Leeds but who was living in Kirkdale, Merseyside, at the time of the offence, admitted attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming.

Judge Robert Warnock said: “You have been the subject of what is commonly described as a sting operation.

“You are clearly a paedophile and as such you were entranced no doubt to find that somebody describing themselves as a 14-year-old girl was interested in you.

“There is no question that you used the most explicit language towards her.

“You have a serious problem.”

Judge Warnock jailed Irving for 18 months, handed him a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and told him to sign on the Sex Offenders Register.