A “pathetic pervert” was snared by a group of paedophile hunters after he begged ‘a 14-year-old girl’ to take off her knickers.
Manchester Minshull Street Crown Court heard how Steven Fairhurst, 36, thought he was talking online to girls aged as young as 11 when he was in fact conversing with adult women using decoy accounts.
Rachel Shenton, prosecuting, described how the woman belonging to a group set up the undercover social media account using the name ‘Jenz’ and putting her age as 14.
In October 2018 she was contacted by Fairhurst who told her to keep the communication secret as he began to ask to see her naked and told her how he wanted to touch her genitalia.
The communication moved on to Whatsapp with Fairhurst, of Bury Road, Tottington, making similar repeated requests over the next few months.
On July 4 2019, a male member of the paedophile group contacted police to say he had “detained a male predator” after he had pretended to be an adult female who had agreed to meet with Fairhurst in Tottington.
The confrontation was live-streamed on Facebook and screen shots of his messages were handed to police officers.
After Fairhurst’s arrest his mobile phone was seized and sexual communication with another adult female using a fake account and pretending to be an 11-year-old girl called ‘Chloe’ was discovered.
Mark Friend, defending, said Fairhurst, who pleaded guilty to 15 counts of attempting to engage in sexual communications with a child, and attempting to incite a child into sexual activity, was “isolated”.
Sentencing Fairhurst, who had no previous convictions, to three years in prison, Judge Tina Langdale, said she found that his learning disability was not a factor in his offending.
“The pre-sentence report identifies that you pose a high risk to girls and these offences are so serious that only a custodial sentence can be justified,” she added.