October 2020

Paedophile hunters snared Mirfield man who thought he’d been messaging 12 year old girl

A man who asked what he believed was a 12-year-old girl to sexually touch herself has been handed a three-year community order.

Michael Jones messaged the ‘child’ online over a 17-day period starting from Halloween last year.

He shook his head when he was confronted by paedophile hunters in the doorway of his sister’s Dewsbury flat on November 16.

The 37-year-old, who has a significant learning disability, usually lives with his other sister, who is his full-time carer, in Littlemoor Grove in Mirfield.

Prosecutor Michael Collins told Leeds Crown Court yesterday (Tuesday) that Jones had actually been messaging a 34-year-old woman from the vigilante group the Elusive Child Protection Unit.

He said the woman, who had joined the group a few months earlier, made public profiles on Facebook and a dating app called Meet4U using a profile photo of a child and the name ‘Sienna’.

She would wait for adults to message the page before telling them she was 12 years old, the prosecutor said.

He said she would respond but would not instigate any sexual conversation.

The pair’s conversation moved to WhatsApp where Jones told the ‘child’ that her parents could not see their encoded messages.

The defendant told the ‘girl’ that her profile photo was beautiful and he would like a girlfriend like her.

He also asked her to touch herself, told her he was touching himself sexually and sent her photos of his boxer shorts and his penis.

Jones then told her to delete the photos after seeing them.

He also asked her to move on to video calls but she claimed her camera was broken.

Jones told her he would love to perform oral sex on her and have sex with her when she is older but did not make any plans to meet up.

He was confronted at his sister’s flat after they had been out shopping and police were called.

The group handed over 100 pages of conversation and his phone was seized from the flat.

Jones pleaded guilty to attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child and two counts of attempting to cause or incite a girl under the age of 13 to engage in sexual activity.

Jones was handed a three-year community order with requirements to complete a 60-day sex offender treatment programme called New Me Strengths and 30 days of rehabilitation activity.

He was also made subject to a five-year sexual harm prevention order.

The court was told sexual harm prevention orders are usually imposed for the same length as the sentence, but the judge said it was fair to increase the length by a further two years.

Both of the defendant’s sisters were in court today for the sentencing hearing.