May 2021

Man warned about paedophiles online even as he sent lewd messages to ‘girls’

A man sent worrying messages to an online paedophile hunter after being arrested following “stings” involving four so-called decoys, a court heard.

Darren Hughes, 45, of Gilbert Street, Holyhead, was jailed for five years and a month at Caernarfon crown court.

He admitted witness intimidation by contacting a woman on her personal Instagram account.

Hughes also pleaded guilty to attempted sexual communication with a child and trying to incite an underage teenage girl to engage in sexual activity.

Judge Timothy Petts said in August and September he had online chat with whom he thought were 13 or 14-year-old girls. He used WhatsApp extensively.

Judge Petts said his messages were “relentlessly sexual, almost from the start”.

Hughes must register as a sex offender indefinitely and a sexual harm prevention order will last for 15 years.

Prosecuting barrister Owen Edwards said Hughes had been aggressive during his lewd messages and warned about “old paedophiles” who went on dating sites.

Eventually Hughes had been confronted by paedophile hunters at his home and arrested.

But a paedophile hunter received a message from someone claiming to be Hughes’s brother, saying he had killed himself as a result of her actions.

Mr Edwards said it was clear it had been the defendant who claimed to be part of a gang. Hughes said they took violent revenge on “decoys”.