June 2020

Former policeman confronted on his front doorstep by paedophile hunters

A former policeman who was confronted on his front doorstep by investigators who caught him targeting young girls online has been jailed

Phillip Thompson, 63, sent explicit images to paedophile hunters posing as a 13-year-old child, asked whether she was ‘good girl’ and arranged to meet near a Morrisons supermarket.

He failed to make the meeting but was later ambushed at home in Royton, near Oldham, Greater Manchester and detained in a citizen’s arrest which was streamed live on Facebook and subsequently posted on YouTube.

It emerged police had also been investigating him in a similar sting operation via the Kik and IB messaging services.

Thompson who worked for Greater Manchester Police as a detention officer, admitted attempting to entice a child to meet following grooming, attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child, attempting to entice a child to engage in sexual activity and attempting to entice a child to watch sexual activity.

He was jailed for three and a half years at Minshull Street Crown Court, Manchester.

He admitted sending messages to police, but claimed to have thought he was talking to an adult due to the speed at which they were typing.

Prosecutor Colin Buckle said: ‘Police officers who were deployed as 13-year-old girl Charlie or ‘Charl’ logged into the chat room IB, which is an open forum often used for contact between people, on 18 October of last year and presented himself as ‘abseiler D’.

‘She claimed to be from Dorset and the defendant said he was from Manchester. He asked whether she was 13 and she confirmed she was.

‘The language quickly became sexual and he was clear that he would like to meet the girl and asked for pictures. He said he would like to meet her for sex.’

Thompson also asked intimate questions about her body, the prosecutor added, and that the defendant said he wanted her to get to know him and trust him.

When he received a selfie of a young woman with their face covered by the camera, he said ‘I love your legs’ and told her he wanted to become her boyfriend and lover.

The profile, ‘Natalie’, was created by paedophile hunter group Justice4Kids Mr Buckle said.

‘He started out by sending her non-explicit pictures and he sent pictures of himself at Land’s End. He sent pictures of him with his sister and a picture of a child was sent to him.

‘He said ‘just don’t tell anybody our secret then we can meet as often as we want’. She said ‘OK will I get in trouble if I do?’ and he said ‘no but I would’ and said it was illegal when the child asked why.’

Thompson sent her an explicit picture and admitted he liked to touch girls and encouraged her to touch her breasts.

He then arranged to meet on November 24 near a supermarket in Heywood, but when two paedophile hunters went to meet him, they found he had not turned up.

Mr Buckle added: ‘The hunters went to his address because he had revealed a lot of information about himself and confronted while they waited for police to arrive and arrest him.

‘When interviewed by police he did not deny he sent the messages but said he did not believe he was talking to a child as he didn’t think a child could type that quickly.’

Sentencing Judge Angela Nield told Thompson: ‘It is extremely sad when someone of your good character comes before these courts for the first time for such serious matters.

‘You are 63 and have had a good and productive career in which you have served your country on tours of duty and have lost your good name and your relationship with your family.

‘But the offences speak for themselves. They are sadly indicative of a world where communication over the internet has become easier and unfortunately children are vulnerable to abuse over the internet.

‘The fact these were not real children does not change the intent, there are real 13-year-olds who are accessing the internet who are vulnerable to people like you.’

Thompson was also made the subject of a 10 year Sexual Harm Prevention Order and has to sign the Sex Offenders Register for life.