March 2017

Pervert texted numbers at random in a bid to groom young girls

An already convicted pervert who texted phone numbers at random in a bid to groom children was caught after a man pretending to be a 15-year-old girl contacted Crimestoppers.

Cambridge Crown Court heard that a man from Scotland, who was not named in court, received a text from Cambridgeshire man David Wagstaff simply saying ‘Hi’ on March 23 last year.

The man continued the conversation asking if he could help Wagstaff, but the messages soon became sexual.

David Wagstaff, of Norris Road in St Ives, previously pleaded guilty to intending to incite a child engage in sexual activity.

The 51-year-old was sentenced at Cambridge Crown Court on Monday (March 13) where he was handed an extended sentence of six years. This included 18 months in prison and four and a half years on licence.

Wagstaff was also ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register indefinitely. Judge David Farrell said a sexual harm prevention order (SHPO), which was made for 10 years in a bid to prevent him from re-offending, was “essential to protect the public, especially children”.

Duncan O’Donnell, prosecuting, said: “The man in Scotland was curious to find out who this man was, so replied to his initial text.

“The defendant then asked the man ‘are you female?’. The texts became sexual, and the man received 49 messages, some of which were extremely detailed.

“The man sent a text back saying ‘I’m scared, I’m only 15’, but the texts continued.

“He had established the person he was talking to was called David, was 50 [at the time] and from St Ives in Cambridgeshire.”

Wagstaff’s texts continued, where he told who he believed to be a 15-year-old girl he ‘didn’t want anyone else’, the court was told.

And in a bombardment of texts the next day, Wagstaff asked the recipient of the texts if she wanted to be his girlfriend, said he loved her and asked her to delete texts from him to hide what he had been doing.

The man contacted Crimestoppers to inform them of what was happening. He also spoke to both police in Scotland and Cambridgeshire police.

Wagstaff also asked who he thought to be the young girl if she wore skirts to school. The defendant was still texting the man’s phone when he was in the police station reporting the offence, the court was told.

The defendant, who has previous convictions of a similar nature, was arrested on May 3 last year.

He told police that he made up phone numbers in his head and and waited to see if he got a response, the court was told.

John Farmer, mitigating, said: “The curiosity in this case is that he carried on with the texts when he was told the ‘girl’ was 15, he did not start the conversation because he knew she was underage.

“This is a man with a collection of inadequacies, fundamentally low intelligence and poor social skills.”

Mr Farmer asked Judge Farrell to suspend Wagstaff’s prison sentence, adding: “These are issues that need to be addressed, and they won’t be addressed by sending him to prison.

“It’s in everyone’s interests that he stops doing this, but sending him to prison will not help that.”

However, sentencing Wagstaff, Judge Farrell said immediate custody was justified.

He said the fact that this incident did not actually involve a 15-year-old girl was “bad luck on him and good luck on society”.

He told the defendant: “These texts were clearly acts of grooming. I accept there are some learning difficulties here but they are not such as to excuse your behaviour.

“You knew exactly what you were doing, and that it was wrong.

“In the pre-sentence report it’s plain that you admitted to feeling sexually attracted to young girls, and by comparison to other adults you said ‘I think I like kids more’.

“You were motivated by sexual fantasies which involved teenage children – and there are concerns about your behaviour escalating.”

June 2015

Man sent inappropriate messages to random strangers including schoolgirl

A man who randomly text strangers – including a young girl – inappropriate messages was spurred on by loneliness, a court heard.

David Wagstaff, Norris Road, St Ives, admitted sending a sexually persuasive text on February 27 to someone said to be under 16.

The 49-year-old – who was sentenced at Cambridge Magistrates’ Court yesterday – was found out after the girl showed her father the text.

The father decided to take the matter into his own hands by replying to Wagstaff and pretending to be his daughter.

Paul Brown, prosecuting, said: “He [the father] told him he was 13-year-old and Wagstaff said he was called David, was 14-years-old and lived in the Cambridge area.”

Wagstaff sent indecent sexual messages – including “do you like dirty texts?” and “I’m horny” – to the stranger, the court heard.

The father then contacted the police who called the phone number and got through to Wagstaff.

He was arrested by police in his home and he told officers in interview that he sends texts when he “gets lonely and depressed.”

Wagstaff admitted to police that he had spoken to a couple of adults through random text messages, a court heard.

But the 49-year-old said he couldn’t remember saying he was a 14-year-old on February 27 as he’d been drinking.

The court heard how he would spend around an hour, as often as once every four days, putting in numbers and dialing and text them in the hope that they’d reply.

Mr Brown added that Wagstaff told police that he is “sexually aroused by texting young females.”

The court heard that Wagstaff was given a community order for inciting a girl under 16 in sexual activity in 2006.

Kevin Warboys, mitigating, said: “He admits to being lonely and socially isolated.

“He spends his time at home and goes about his life locally. But most of the time he is on his own.”

He added: “He candidly admitted that this was one of a number of offences.”

In relation to the texts in question, Mr Warboys described them as being written like a child.

The magistrates were asked to take into account that Wagstaff pleaded guilty at the first opportunity.

Lead Magistrate Harvey Harrison gave him a 12-month community order with supervision, an electronic tag and 20 days of rehabilitation activity.