March 2021

Dorset paedophile drove 90 miles to Swindon to meet with ‘girl’

A dad-of-two who drove 90 miles to meet a 14-year-old “girl” told police he was the innocent dupe of a paedophile hunter group.

Benjamin Reina, 42, was snared by hunter group Justice for the Innocent in summer 2019, Swindon Crown Court heard.

The Dorset man began chatting with a “girl” on social media app Skout. She repeatedly told him she was 14-years-old, talking about school, homework, her mother disciplining her and having to do chores.

He sent an image of himself emerging from the shower and two pictures of his private parts.

On June 27, 2019, he sent a message to the decoy account: “Did you want me to teach you some stuff about sex ed?”

By July 7, the pair had arranged to meet-up in Swindon. Reina messaged her throughout the journey from his home near Wimborne to Wiltshire, but was instead met by a welcoming party from the vigilante group.

They detained him until officers arrived. Messages pointed to him intending to engage in “foreplay” during the meeting.

He refused to provide the police with login details for his two mobile phones, with all the evidence in the case from the online conversation provided by the woman operating the decoy social media account.

Prosecutor Stephen Donnelly said: “Having been released on bail, Mr Reina then sent a letter to police which in short presents that Justice for the Innocent had misled him and that he was presenting himself as an innocent party.”

Reina, of Edmonsham near Wimborne, Dorset, had been due to stand trial earlier this year, but pleaded guilty to a single count of attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming after the judge gave an indication as to the likely sentence he would receive.

Judge Peter Crabtree jailed him for 16 months, saying: “Here, immediate custody is not required to protect the public. I also accept there is a realistic prospect of rehabilitation given you have some understanding of the offence, your previous good character and the proposal of the author of the pre-sentence report, who believes probation can work with you.”

However, he added that the offending involved sexual communication with a girl Reina believed to be 14, over two months and in the course of which he sent images of his private parts.

He was given a 10 year sexual harm prevention order and must register as a sex offender.