February 2021

Anglesey maths teacher and ex-cop found guilty of trying to groom 12-year-old girl online after undercover police sting

A married maths teacher and former policeman accused of trying to groom a girl of twelve online was caught in a “sting” by an undercover cop.

Barry Lander, aged 48, of Bron y Graig, Bodedern, Anglesey, was convicted on a 10-2 majority verdict, by a Caernarfon crown court jury, of attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity during October 2019.

He had denied the charge during a two-day trial.

He’d claimed he knew from an early stage it wasn’t a child chatting online and thought it may have been a vigilante paedophile hunter who he was “stringing” along.

But prosecutor Simon Rogers alleged he was getting a “thrill” from sexually explicit chat with someone he thought was a girl.

Quizzed about his choice of profile name “bad hub,” Lander insisted :”It was just a name I made up. There was no specific reason. It’s a hub of people. I just put the word ‘bad’ in front of it.”

Mr Rogers asked whether Lander had mentioned “Candy Crush” because a young girl would be interested in such a game.

“You asked ‘is it just you and your foster mum’? Was that you working out the family dynamic?” Mr Rogers also said to him. Lander replied: ”No.”

Lander told the jury he sent a real photograph of himself “in error” to someone he thought was an adult and web paedophile hunter.

The prosecution alleged there were “clear elements of grooming” and Lander had started to sexualise the chat and had been “pushing the boundaries.”

During the web messages Lander had commented “you deserve someone nice” and “you are awesome.” But in court he disputed that he was trying to “curry favour.”

In one conversation, he’d also asked :”How bad are you really?”

Lander maintained he was “stringing them along, trying to get some reaction. I was trying to help the police service by stringing this person along, by keeping these people occupied.”

Lander had discussed him staying at a Cardiff hotel and his lustful desires including about teaching his web contact “a lesson.”

He told his barrister Anna Price that although he had been told the other web user was twelve, he believed it had been someone in their 30s or 40s because of their literacy skills including the use of the word “actually” and apostrophes.

He said he wanted to waste the time of the “vigilante.”

Judge David Hale bailed Lander, whose wife was in court, until he is sentenced next month after a pre-sentence report. He must register as a sex offender.

“Don’t read anything into the fact I am asking for a report,” the judge warned him.