February 2021

Cambridge-educated teacher, 41, avoids jail 

A Cambridge-educated teacher has avoided jail after he was caught trying to meet under-age schoolgirls online following the break up of his marriage.

Paul Anderson, 41, was unmasked during a sting operation by a paedophile hunters group.

He had offered to travel 220miles from his home in Paisley, Scotland, to Manchester to meet one of the youngsters saying he wanted to ‘kiss and buy underwear for her’.

The law graduate, who got a Masters’ at Cambridge and was studying a PhD at LSE, had earlier sent messages to Cobra UK investigators posing as girls aged 14 and 12.

Under the name ‘Married Teacher’ on Chat Hour, he asked one if she would have sex with him, saying he would ‘take it slowly’ and told another he wanted to ‘snuggle up’ with her in a hotel.

The investigators planned to confront Anderson in a sting operation but he was arrested at home.

He said he had been surfing dating websites for a new girlfriend after the collapse of his 19-year marriage when he unwittingly came across the bogus online profiles.

At Bolton Crown Court, Anderson pleaded guilty to charges of attempting to engage in sexual communications with a child but was freed with an eight-month jail sentence suspended for two years.

The court heard the probe began in October 2019 after an undercover investigator set up a fake online profile under the identity of a girl of 12 called ‘Bekki.’

Miss Nicola Gatto prosecuting said: ‘Miss Duffield has experience of acting as a decoy.

‘Her general principal is that no member of her group makes contact with any individual first or encourage a response and that the individual communicating with the decoy is left in no doubt as regards the age of the child.

‘The decoy was later approached by this defendant using the name: ”married teacher”.

He sent her a friend request and called himself ‘James.’ She accepted and he told her he was 40 and she said in response: ‘are you ok speaking with me – I’m 12’.

He told her he was fine with that and that all he wanted was some dirty chat and maybe to meet up.

Miss Gatto said Anderson sent pictures of himself whilst he was sexually aroused.

She added: ‘He asked her about school and then told her he wanted to sneak into her room whilst she was watching a film, go under the covers and cuddle up.

‘He asked her if she wanted to have sex with him and he was happy to take it slow until they got to know each other.’

The court heard on the same day Anderson began communicating with another investigator from the Cobra group posing as a girl of 14 called ‘Leah James’.

Miss Gatto went on: ‘She made it clear she was 14 but he said he was fine with that and the conversation then took a more sexual turn.

‘He said her school clothes would look better on her bedroom floor and that they could lie in bed naked together and snuggle up in a hotel.

‘He said he wanted to get his hands on her. She said she had never had sex but he said he would teach her and gave her access to her private pictures.

‘He later arranged to meet the decoy in Manchester saying he would take her shopping for underwear so she could model it for him and also so they could meet up and kiss.’

She added: ‘This is a man who has had safeguarding training in the context of being a teacher.’

The illicit messages were referred to another paedophile hunter group who planned a confrontation but no meeting took place and he was arrested later at home.

Anderson gave no comment in police interview.

The court heard a report on the teacher said he disclosed to the author how he became ‘aroused’ by the sexual content and had ‘got beyond to the point of caring who he was communicating with’.

Anderson was also ordered to abide by a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and will have to sign the Sex Offender Register for ten years and complete 30 rehabilitation requirement days.

Judge Timothy Stead said Anderson had a ‘valuable form of work which for good reason was no longer available.’

He told him: ‘You engaged in sexual internet chat and sent photographs to someone you believed was 12.

‘But it is clear you are an intelligent man who will have had a clear understanding of what has happened and what needs to be done by you now to ensure that nothing of this nature ever happens again.’