April 2021

Pervert drove 100 miles to secretly meet ’13-year-old girl’ at Middlesbrough Aldi

A “devious” paedophile was confronted by cops after trying to meet a 13-year-old girl at a supermarket car park.

Alan Friend was communicating on a chat room with who he believed was a schoolgirl but he was in fact being monitored by police

Teesside Crown Court heard how the 58-year-old told her that she had to keep their contact a secret and offered to get her a mobile phone.

Jonathan Walker, prosecuting, said he was sent an image of a young girl with blonde hair eating an ice cream and said he would like to take her out one day.

He said Friend told her that he wanted a “snog” and he had never kissed anyone her age before.

Mr Walker said: “The defendant’s intentions were clear from the offset.”

The court heard how Friend drove from Hull and arrived to meet the girl at Aldi car park in Middlesbrough town centre in July last year.

When he arrived, he was met by plain clothes police officers instead of the child.

Mr Walker told the court how he said “I knew it, I knew it” before banging his driver’s wheel repeatedly.

He said that Friend, who appeared in court via a video link to Durham prison, claimed he was meeting the child for a McDonalds and not sexual activity.

The court heard how Friend was previously handed a suspended prison sentence in 2016 for two offences of attempting to meet a child after sexual grooming.

He was also ordered to abide by a sexual harm prevention order until 2026.

During the previously occasion, Friend had been talking to a group of children, who he believed were around 13, and was also confronted by police officers.

Friend, of Brigg Road, Barton-upon-Humber, pleaded guilty to attempting to meet a child after sexual grooming and breaching a sexual harm prevention order.

Judge Jonathan Carroll told Friend that it was clear that he understood he wasn’t supposed to be talking to the child and told her she would have to keep it a secret.

The judge said that Friend told the child she couldn’t tell her parents and offered to get her a phone.

He said: “You were being devious and you know you were being devious.”

The judge said it is is not appreciated by the general public that judges can’t just impose “whatever sentence they like” and have to follow guidelines.

He said that, due to Friend serving time on remand, there was not enough time for him to complete a treatment programme if he was to be given immediate custody.

Judge Carroll said he had to consider whether children would be made safer if he undertook a course and was monitored and controlled by the probation service.

He told Friend: “You are clearly someone who needs that kind of intervention. You have admitted sexual interest in children. That will not simply dissipate or disappear, it needs to be confronted.”

The judge sentenced Friend to 21 months in prison suspended for two years.

He ordered him to complete 35 rehabilitation activity requirement days and a sex offenders treatment programme.

Judge Carroll extended his sexual harm prevention order, which was set to last until 2026, and made it indefinite.

Friend will be subject to sex offender notification requirements for the next 10 years.