Pervert Army man caught out by undercover reporter posing as girl, 14
A perverted ex-Army officer from East Yorkshire has been caught out after attempting to arrange a sex hook-up with a 14-year-old girl in a park.
Paul Handley, 56, arranged to drive from his old home in Aldbrough on the Holderness coast to meet the “girl” for sex after being tricked by a newspaper reporter who posed as a teenager on a social networking site.
In the bogus profile, the reporter claimed to be 18 years old, but during the online chats told the married father-of-two that she was in fact 14.
But that did not stop Handley, a grandad of five, who drove over an hour away from his home to meet her at Selby Park in North Yorkshire on August 17 last year.
When the “highly-decorated” ex-Army man turned up in his sleek black Mercedes at the pay-and-display car park behind the park, he was shocked to find an undercover reporter from the Selby Times with a camera taking pictures of his vehicle.
Handley sped off but was arrested at his home 12 days later after the reporter passed on details of the online chats to police, as well as conversations he’d had with other men.
He later pleaded guilty to attempting to meet a girl under the age of 16 following sexual grooming on August 17 and one count of attempting to cause the same child to watch an image of sexual activity between June 29 and August 18 last year.
During his sentencing at York Crown Court , it was heard that he attempted to lure the “girl” by signing up to the chat forum with the usernames ‘Trucker’ and ‘Paul Trucker’. He told her he was 47 years old and gave her his mobile phone number.
Conversations between the two lasted six weeks and Handley used Kik, an instant-messenger-type mobile-phone app, to send her a “revolting” video in which he performed a sex act on himself.
Prosecutor Christine Egerton said he “repeatedly” asked the reporter to meet him and went into great detail about the sexual acts he wanted to carry out.
“When the defendant arrived…the reporter was waiting in the car park already,” said Ms Egerton. “He took photos of the defendant’s car and they showed the registration.”
Judge Paul Batty QC was critical of Handley’s actions.
He said: “It’s difficult to conceive of a more squalid and indeed a more criminal act, given your age and the perceived age of your ‘victim’.”
“Until the commission of these offences… you led a blameless life and you had served your country for 28 years, reaching the rank of warrant officer and leaving the forces with exemplary military conduct upon discharge.
“But you yourself… describe the offences as too heinous, involving child-sex grooming. As it was, this was effectively a sting operation by a newspaper reporter from the Selby Times who pretended to be (a girl)… and you, as it were, took the bait.”
Handley was given a two-year suspended sentence because there was no actual sex involved.
The judge also took into account his previously unblemished criminal record and the fact he was said to be “full of remorse.”.
Judge Batty also noted that Handley was caring for his seriously-ill wife and said he considered the offences to be a “one-off”.
Handley, of Littlethorpe Close, Strensall, has been placed on the sex-offenders’ register for ten years and ordered to carry out 200 hours’ unpaid work.
He must also take part in a 30-day rehabilitation course.