May 2021

Man avoids jail after Newtown paedophile hunters meeting

A pervert has avoided jail after getting involved in sexual conversations with what he thought was a 14-year-old – who turned out to be a paedophile hunters’ group.

Darrell Swain was caught when he travelled to Newtown to meet who he thought was a 21-year-old woman at a garage – but this too turned out to be a decoy account.

The 55-year-old appeared at Caernarfon Crown Court on Tuesday for sentencing having previously admitted one offence of attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child.

Anna Pope, prosecuting, told the court a member of a paedophile hunter group had created a profile on a social media site for single people, purporting to be a 14-year-old girl.

In May last year, Swain contacted the ‘girl’ and they began chatting.

He told her he was 53 and she told him she was 14.

As the conversations continued, Swain told her: “I wish we could meet,” offering to take a train so he could “chill” with her.

After that he asked if she wanted to be his girlfriend, and then made increasingly graphic suggestions and requests – including the exchange of sexual images and listing the acts he wished to carry out.

Swain, of Ael y Bryn in Ystradgynlais, was apprehended by the group after he went to the garage near Newtown.

The police were called and officers were handed the materials the group had gathered on Swain, following which he was arrested.

In interview, he told officers he’d made contact with the ‘girl’ and carried on talking to her after learning she was 14 because he “thought she might need someone to talk to” during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Judge handed Swain a 30-week custodial sentence, but suspended it after concluding the prospect of rehabilitation outweighed the need for immediate custody.

The sentence was suspended for 18 months.

Swain was ordered to undertake 25 days of rehabilitation activity and 12 months of alcohol treatment, as well as an eight week electronically monitored curfew.

He was also made the subject of a 10-year sexual harm prevention order.

Powys man confronted by paedophile hunters in Newtown

A member of a paedophile hunters’ group posed as a fictitious teenage girl to ensnare a Powys man.

Darrell Swain was confronted by members of the group in Newtown in June last year and was subsequently arrested by police.

The 54-year-old had travelled from his home in Ystradgynlais to Montgomeryshire to meet who he believed to be the 14-year-old girl he had been messaging between May 19 and June 1, 2020.

Appearing at Welshpool Magistrates Court on Tuesday, April 27, Swain, of Ael-y-Bryn, Ystradgynlais, admitted a charge of attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child. Magistrates declined jurisdiction in the case and committed Swain to Mold Crown Court for sentence next month.

Prosecutor Helen Tench said a female member of the paedophile hunters’ group engaged in conversation with the defendant.

“Contact was made between the defendant and a 14-year-old fictitious person; he engaged with her in chat and asked her if she had a boyfriend,” said Mrs Tench

“In the following days he told her he wished that she was his girlfriend, he wished they could kiss and cuddle and he wished they were having sex.”

Mrs Tench said Swain continued to send sexually explicit messages to the female, offering to send her pictures and asking for pictures from her.

“The woman arranged with others to confront the defendant and arrangements were made to meet him,” she added.

“At that meeting members of the hunter group confronted the defendant and the police were called and he was arrested.”

Craig Hardin, defending, made no submission on behalf of his client.

Magistrates committed the case to Mold for sentence, with Swain due to appear there on May 18. They said he must report to police in Brecon within three days.