Wayne Picken – Widnes

August 2020

‘Dangerous’ paedo falls into trap after he asks child for sex and tells her ‘I’m horny’

A depraved paedophile trying to prey on young girls online was snared by two separate undercover police operations.

Registered sex offender Wayne Picken, 60 of Albert Road, Widnes, was classed as “dangerous” after he pleaded guilty to seven counts relating to attempting to incite a child and indecent images.

Sarah Holt, prosecuting at Liverpool Crown Court on Friday, told how sick Picken made contact online with what appeared to be two girls in separate conversations: “Maddie” aged 12 and “Maisie”, 13, in January and February last year.

Despite them telling him immediately they were 12 and 13, Picken – acting under the pseudonym “Duane Pipe” – proceeded to engage both in a series of explicit conversations via Kik Messenger and WhatsApp.

Revealing that he was 59 years old, he told one undercover police officer posing as “Maddie” he was “horny” and was ‘playing with himself’ and asked personal questions about sexual experience.

Miss Holt told the court: “The defendant asked Maddie – ‘Have you ever seen an old man’s c**k lol?’ and ‘wanna see mine?’

“He continued to ask Maddie to send him some pictures of herself and she responded but only with a partial picture of her clothing.

“The defendant subsequently sent her a picture of his penis.”

His contact with Maddie lasted five days and spanned around 100 messages.

To the supposed 13-year-old “Maisie” from “London”, he asked “You f*** older men?”

Again, during the course of more than 200 messages and the course of just over a week, he made repeated lewd comments and suggested they could meet at “his place”.

He also “dared” her to perform a sex act and suggested they have intercourse.

Little did he know that “Maddie” was really an undercover officer from the Yorkshire and Humber Regional Organised Crime Unit hunting to catch paedophiles as part of Operation Reveal.

“Maisie” was also an undercover officer, but from a different force and with no knowledge of Operation Reveal.

Officers from Cheshire police arrested Picken at home on February 7, 2019, and seized his mobile phone which he had tried to hide in a “cardboard display box which contained a decorative mug”.

An examination found the phone contained 182 indecent images of children, in the age range of about 10 to 14 years old and of Category C seriousness – involving nudity and sexualised posing.

In police interview on July 17 last year, he provided a prepared statement in which he denied knowing anything about the images and replied “no comment” to further questions.

Picken was already on the sex offenders register, having been convicted over possessing 80 child abuse images in Categories A to C found on his phone in March 2015, and another 21 abuse images found on his phone in November 2015, again at Categories A to C, and including two videos.

There were also 14 images that, although not indecent, appeared to have been taken from chat rooms.

Brazen Picken claimed he had no sexual interest in children, despite him having sent a message to a child saying “fancy a f*** sometime?”.

The resulting Sexual Harm Prevention Order required him to allow the authorities to check his internet devices, but on February 6 this year, he claimed to his offender management worker Helen Wrigley he had lost his phone two weeks earlier.

Ms Wrigley spoke to his ex-partner on February 19 who told her he had been texting her up to that date using the number he had previously provided to the police.

Matters came to a head when Ms Wrigley and a male colleague made an unannounced home visit, and Picken denied having the phone but then “stormed out” of the room and was seen grabbing it on the way out.

Ms Wrigley wrestled the device from his hands and he became “aggressive and agitated” and began quickly swallowing tablets.

Picken was restrained for his safety, then arrested.

The phone revealed he had been communicating with a girl online who said she was 12 years old, with around 80 messages exchanged and Picken again saying he was “horny”.

The child’s identity remains unknown but was deemed to be evidently “vulnerable”.

Faced with mounting evidence, he pleaded guilty to seven counts: two of attempting to engage a child in sexual communication and two of attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual communication in relation to the undercover stings, possessing indecent photographs of a child, breaching a SHPO, and attempted sexual communication with a child in relation to the unidentified vulnerable victim.

Judge Garrett Byrne, rejected that argument, citing a pre-sentence report that said Picken “remains in denial” about his sexual interest in children and that this had been a “theme” since 2015.

Judge Byrne said the “wellbeing of the child is furthest from his mind but he continues unabated”.

He sentenced Picken, who appeared via videolink, to five years in prison, with an extra three years on licence.

Judge Byrne said: “Your counsel urges me that it’s premature to reach any determination of dangerousness.

“I disagree.

“I’m satisfied I have enough material before me to make such an assessment and it’s in the interest of justice to proceed rather than delay any more.”

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