March 2021

Paedophile avoids jail after sending sick messages to ‘boy’

A paedophile who sent perverted messages to an undercover cop he believed was a 14-year-old boy has avoided jail.

Gary Fitzpatrick, of Wythenshawe, thought he was speaking with a teenage boy under the account ‘ConfusedLad’ over a chat site.

In reality it was an undercover officer, anonymised as ‘C’, who created the account on a site, Manchester Crown Court heard.

After creating the account in February 2019, the account received a message ‘almost immediately’ from the defendant under the name ‘Manc’.

The officer ‘almost immediately’ said he was 14 and told Fitzpatrick he was too young for him.

He replied: “Fourteen, nice. What makes you think you’re too young for me LOL.”

The exchange grew more sexual with the 53-year-old asking the lad if he was gay and if he had performed sexual acts on his ‘school friends’.

In July of that year officers conducted a search of his address and found a number of indecent photos on his phone, along with internet searches of underage girls.

Fitzpatrick earlier pleaded guilty to attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child, and two offences of making indecent photos.

Today (March 5) he was handed a 10 month prison sentence which was suspended for two years.

Prosecutor Richard Orme told the court that the undercover officer created the account on ‘ChatIW’ on February 25 2019 when he received a message from ‘Manc’.

“The officer almost immediately commented that he wasn’t 18, but was 14,” Mr Orme said.

“According to the Crown, because of this comment the defendant believed he was talking to a 14-year-old boy.

“The defendant specifically asked the age of the ‘lad’ and when he was informed that he was too young for the defendant, this solicited the response from the defendant: “Fourteen, nice. What makes you think you’re too young for me LOL”.

In the following chat he asked whether the lad was ‘gay or bi’, and whether he liked to perform sexual acts, the court heard.

The conversation then moved onto the Kik Messenger app and he asked the boy why he wasn’t at school.

When he was told he was on his way Fitzpatrick said it was a ‘shame’ otherwise they could have had a ‘cam w***’ together, prosecutors said.

He later asked if the lad had performed sexual acts on his friends, and when he said he had, Fitzpatrick replied: “yummy” alongside more graphic messages.

“Police attended Sandhill Walk in Wythenshawe on July 5 2019 and arrested and cautioned the defendant, who replied: “I don’t know what you’re on about”,” Mr Orme continued.

“Officers also found evidence of internet searches for ‘under 18 F’, ’11-year-old Lucy’ and ‘Emma underage’.”

Sentencing him, Recorder Nicholas Clarke QC told him: “You were engaging with somebody you believed to be 14 in sexualised conversation – as far as you were concerned you were speaking with a boy.

“In these circumstances the public would expect and the court will impose a custodial sentence, however I am persuaded by the pre-sentence report if you were to serve a relatively short custodial term, it would have minimal effect.

“There are little or not opportunities for education, rehabilitation or employment whilst in a custodial setting and it would do something more useful to be punished in the community.”

Fitzpatrick, of Sandhill Walk, was also ordered to complete 120 hours unpaid work as well as 20 days of rehabilitation activity requirements.

He was made subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for 10 years and ordered to sign onto the Sex Offenders Register also for 10 years.