April 2021

Paedophile dad arrested at Aldi where he worked runs free from court after judge spares him jail

A paedophile who used the nickname “HungforYoung” online was arrested in the Aldi where he worked.

Liam Ridgeway, 27, had a vile sexualised chat with a person he thought was a 13-year-old schoolgirl called Becca.

Ridgeway, of Hawthorne Road, Bootle, who has children of his own, sent the ‘girl’ naked photos, supposedly of himself.

The dad even asked “Becca” whether she would have sex with a man in her mother’s bed.

But the whole time the pervert – who ran out of court after being spared jail – was actually talking to an undercover police officer.

Liverpool Crown Court heard Ridgeway started talking to “Becca” on an online chat forum called Chatiw on October 8, 2019.

Michael Stephenson, prosecuting, said: “He signed on using what some would consider the suggestive handle of HungforYoung.

“He very quickly moved to asking sexually explicit questions of Becca and of course the undercover officer made it clear at an early stage that he was supposedly talking with a 13-year-old who was still at school.”

Mr Stephenson said Ridgeway sent Becca two photos of a man showing his penis and claimed it was him, when in fact it was not.

He said Ridgeway went on to ask the girl about her sexual experience and the size of her breasts and bottom before the conversation moved to Skype.

The pervert then started pressing the child to send him a picture of her in a bra and underwear.

Mr Stephenson said: “He continued with sexual questions, asking whether she would have sex with a man in her mother’s bed.”

He said Ridgeway also asked whether she would be willing to meet, but didn’t continue with that line of questioning and when he logged on twice more on October 10 and 16, he greeted Becca but each time was then “unresponsive”.

Police identified Ridgeway’s IP address and raided his then home in Dryden Street, Bootle, but he wasn’t present.

Judge David Potter said: “He was arrested at Aldi, at his work.”

Mr Stephenson said Ridgeway was interviewed that day, declined legal representation and accepted he was involved in the chat.

The prosecutor said: “I think the flavour of the interview was not so much that he didn’t believe he was speaking to a 13-year-old, but he said it hadn’t really registered with him.

“He explained he was at a difficult stage in his personal relationship with his partner, he was looking to make contact with a younger person, but not someone who was underage.”

The court heard electronic devices were seized from his home, leading to a delay in the case while they were analysed, but no indecent images of children were recovered.

Ridgeway, who had no previous convictions, admitted attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child, attempting to cause a child aged 13 to look at an image of sexual activity, and intentionally encouraging the commission of an offence.

Judge Potter handed him 12 months in prison, suspended for 18 months, and said he must complete a Horizon sex offenders treatment programme, a 20-day Rehabilitation Activity Requirement and 100 hours of unpaid work.

He told him to sign on the Sex Offenders Register and comply with a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for 10 years.