July 2021

Paedophile marched down street in handcuffs after talking to ‘schoolgirl’

A paedophile was filmed by neighbours as he was led away in handcuffs after being caught in an online sting.

Matthew Hodgkiss, 44, used Facebook and WhatsApp to message what he thought was a 14-year-old girl, begging her for nude photos and asking her to carry out a sex act.

But the profile was actually a decoy set up by group Guardians of the North who passed the chat logs on to police.

When officers tracked Hodgkiss to the address he shared with his partner in Stockton, North Yorkshire, they also discovered a small cannabis farm.

Footage captured the moment he was marched down the road to a waiting police van following his arrest.

Neighbours can be seen stopping and recording him as he is being led past them.

Hodgkiss pleaded guilty to attempting to incite a child into sexual activity and production of cannabis at Teesside Crown Court and was jailed for two years.

Prosecutor Chris Baker told the court Hodgkiss first contacted the ‘girl’ on Facebook and the messages quickly became sexual.

He started asked for nude photographs and suggested she carry out a sex act after sending her a selfie.

Mr Baker said: ‘He asked for a picture and she sent one of her face but he asked her for one lower down, she said she only sent pictures of her face and the messages terminated at that stage.’

In police interview, the defendant, who has a previous offence of sexual assault in 1998, said he accepted he had sent the ‘sexualised’ messages but had no interest in young children.

But the judge, Recorder Abdul Iqbal QC, told him: ‘You communicated with that person thinking you were communicating with a 14-year-old girl.

‘You were asking that person for her mobile phone number and then asked for a photograph of her genitals and you made it plain what you were looking for.

‘It is plain you sought sexual gratification from that behaviour.’