October 2017

Winsford pervert trapped by ‘paedophile hunter’ escapes jail sentence

A wheelchair-bound pervert was trapped by a paedophile hunter who posed on line as a 13-year-old girl.

Neil Clark began sending ‘lewd’ texts to the ‘girl’ and suggested meeting up so they could have sex, Liverpool Crown Court heard on Friday.

The court was told that Clark, 37, arranged to meet her at Warrington’s Golden Square but did not turn up and his barrister claimed it had all been ‘a fantasy’ in Clark’s head.

But Judge David Aubrey, QC, rejected that suggestion and said that by entering the online chat room and sending messages on WhatsApp ‘he had been exploiting’ her.

He said he had sent ‘lewd, explicit and graphic texts to a vulnerable person you believed was 13 years old’.

Judge Aubrey added: “The court does not accept by any stretch of the imagination that you were in any form of fantasy world.”

He added: “Whether you actually intended to meet her or not we will never know.”

He sentenced Clark to 16 months imprisonment, suspended for 18 months, and ordered him to carry out 35 days rehabilitation activities.

He also ordered him to sign the Sex Offenders Register for 10 years, imposed an indefinite Sexual Harm Prevention Order and Clark had his mobile phone forfeited.

Clark, formerly of Bakers Lane, Winsford, had pleaded guilty to attempting to facilitate the commission of a sex offence on June 17 this year.

Rob Jones, prosecuting, said that Creep Catchers UK is a paedophile hunters group ‘dedicated to assisting the investigation of child sex offences’.

One of their members entered a chat room called Qeep and used his correct date of birth but then created a fictitious account pretending to be a 13-year-old girl and making it clear in on-line chats ‘her’ age.

Within a few weeks Clark made contact and it was clear he knew he was dealing with a 13-year-old girl, said Mr Jones.

They continued their chats via WhatsApp and he began making foul sexual suggestions despite ‘her’ indicating she was not interested in having sex.

Clark suggested they meet in Warrington’s Golden Square on June 10 and told her what sort of underwear to wear ‘and said he wanted to meet her so they could have sex’.

The meeting did not happen but the paedophile hunter went to Clark’s home and confronted him and called the police.

He also told him to hand over his mobile phone which he did.

Mr Jones sadi: “The police attended and the defendant said he did it because he was bored and stupid.”