November 2019

Military scientist sent ‘sordid filth’ to girl, 14, who was actually paedophile hunter

A married Ministry of Defence scientist who worked at a top secret laboratory sent ‘sordid filth’ to a 14-year-old who turned out to be a fake teenager set up by a group of paedophile hunters.

Alexander Aplin, 52, of Amesbury, Wiltshire became ‘obsessed and infatuated’ with the ‘young girl’, sending her WhatsApp messages asking her to ‘flash’ and videos about masturbation.

The paedophile, who has two children with his wife, first got in touch with the fictional girl on the Nearby chat app in October last year, sending her ‘fairly run of the mill but extremely sordid filth’.

He was in conversation with her from October 6 to October 27 last year and finally went to ‘meet’ her carrying a bag of red lace thongs, condoms and lubricant at a shopping centre at the end of the month.

He was in the middle of trying to arrange a ‘day trip to Stonehenge’ for the two of them when he was confronted by the group Justice for the Innocent.

The physics expert pleaded guilty to attempting to incite a girl aged 13 or over to engage in penetrative sexual activity, attempting to meet a girl under 16 following grooming and attempting to send sexual communications to a child.

Aplin, who specialised in lasers at Porton Down for the MoD for more than 30 years, was handed a 16 month suspended sentence that will remain in place for two years at Salisbury Crown Court.

In a police statement made after his arrest, the now-resigned scientist admitted he found the attention ‘exciting’ and would try and contact the young ‘girl’ whenever he could.

The father-of-two told police there was a chance he would have had sex with the girl if she existed – despite having a child the same age as the teenager he was trying to meet.

In a video posted online by the group, Aplin claimed the girl was 18 and smirked when confronted, saying: ‘People say all sorts of things online, and you’re making out she doesn’t exist.’

Prosecutor Colin Meekes said: ‘It is clear this is an older man who is obsessed and infatuated by the ‘girl’ he thought he was talking to.

‘He called her darling and the conversations they have usually opened with the phrase ‘hello darling’.’

He added: ‘It’s clear from the conversations that he is fantasising about her wearing thongs and stockings and he asks her to ‘flash’ while wearing stockings. ‘He wanted to teach her to French kiss.

When he was interviewed by police he had condoms and lubricant in his rucksack as well as the lingerie he had just brought.

Judge Richard Parkes QC said: ‘How any 52-year-old man could imagine a 14-year-old girl would be interested in him is beyond me.’

He added: ‘He has children, and a wife with whom he has a joint mortgage and I understand he is concerned about that but it might have been better if he had thought about that a little earlier.’

While sentencing Aplin, the judge named his behaviour ‘utterly outrageous’.

He said: ‘Children must not be approached by adults for the purpose of sexual activity. ‘You are an intelligent and clever man who knows the damage that you could have caused to a child.’

Aplin was also ordered to carry out 15 rehabilitation days, complete 150 hours of unpaid work and is subject to a ten year sexual harm prevention order.