May 2020

Face of ‘out-of-control’ paedo ‘obsessed’ with grooming young girls

A serial sex offender “obsessed” with children starts an extended jail term today after he groomed an underage girl for sex.

Cameron Hatton, 22, of Billingham was described by a judge as an isolated man fixated with young girls with a compulsion he could not control.

He was deemed a “very high risk to children” but went to prison still denying he had a sexual interest in them.

He was “detained” at home by a vigilante group which aimed to track and report people who groom children online.

This brought police to his door at 3am – leading to the unravelling of his deviant criminal activities, Teesside Crown Court heard.

Officers seized a phone which the convicted paedophile had not disclosed, unearthing a wealth of evidence, on August 20, 2018.

The phone contained 71 indecent pictures and videos of children aged as young as two, with 26 pictures at the most serious level.

Prosecutor Harry Hadfield said: “The sample images show female children being sexually abused and exploited.

“The internet search history establishes that the defendant had looked for that sort of material.”

The device also revealed Hatton had been using aliases such as “John Smith” to chat to girls online, which he was banned from doing.

He used social media and texts for a 29-page conversation with one underage girl which “quickly became sexualised”.

“It progressed to how the defendant intended to meet that real child and engage in sexual activity with her,” added Mr Hadfield.

“The communication became more sexually overt. There is an element of grooming.”

In the increasingly explicit messages, “John Smith” asked her whether she had a boyfriend and whether they had had sex.

He tried to hide his activities as he suggested unprotected sex, asked the girl to touch him and asked if she had contacted the police.

Hatton, whose address was recorded in court as Northumberland Prison, admitted arranging or facilitating a child sex offence and three counts of making indecent photographs of children, offences committed in Teesside.

He also pleaded guilty to failing to comply with sex offender notification requirements and breaching a sexual harm prevention order.

He became a registered sex offender in 2018 as he was twice convicted of making indecent photographs of children.

At one point he was reported for watching child abuse images on a phone in a garden at a caravan park, the court heard.

Judge Jonathan Carroll said: “This all came to a head as a result of the actions of a vigilante group. I make no comment on their actions.

“The internet search history indicated your continuing obsession with accessing material of a sexual nature focusing on young children.”

The judge continued: “These were deliberate offences with a degree of planning and subterfuge.

“It’s quite clear that your sexual focus is on very young children indeed.

“You continue to in effect deny any sexual motivation, any sexual interest in young girls. That is plainly not true.

“You are clearly sexually motivated. Your motivation and targeting in towards young females.

“And it’s a compulsion that is out of control in you. You’ve become fixated upon young girls.

“But more important than that, you lack at the moment any real insight into the nature of your offending.

“You lack any real motivation to try to change. You represent a very high risk to children in the community.

“You represent a significant risk of serious harm.”

Hatton was given an extended sentence totalling seven years and eight months – a prison sentence of four years and eight months plus three years’ extended licence.

Hatton received a new sexual harm prevention order and will be on the sex offenders’ register, both indefinitely.