Pervert attempted to groom girl in paedophile hunter sting

Octavian Tantau

A pervert who attempted to groom a 13-year-old girl online has been jailed.

Octavian Tantau, from Latchford, sent thousands of sexually explicit messages, pictures and videos to what he believed was a child over a period of nearly a year.

But the 30-year-old was actually being snared in a paedophile hunter sting.

Liverpool Crown Court heard on Tuesday, August 31, that a volunteer set up an online profile which was first contacted by the defendant in December 2019.

Over the following 10 months, Tantau bombarded the account with sick messages in which he constantly encouraged her to perform sex acts.

In only a handful of the catalogue of texts – which were sent over the Kik and Skout messaging apps – he asked the fake teen whether her dad checked her phone, claimed that he had ‘had 13 or 14-year-old girls when he was younger’, said he would ‘teach her what to do’ and suggested that they go to the cinema together.

He also sent the decoy numerous indecent images, pictures showing the paedophile exposed himself and others where he was naked in the bath, as well as videos of adults having sex.

In September 2020, Tantau was confronted by the paedophile hunters at his home on Ashfield Gardens in a 30-minute video broadcast live on Facebook after they were able to trace him because he had shared selfies and photos of his car featuring the registration plate.

The police were called and he was arrested, and although he admitted his offending under interview he stated that he ‘did not see any in harm in what he viewed as normal chat’.

Evidence presented to court stretched to more than 1,000 pages of screenshots of his lewd messages.

Tantau – who has no previous convictions – was supported in court by his partner of seven years, who held her head in her hands as he was led to the cells after being handed two years in prison.

Tantau admitted attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity, attempting to engage in sexual communications with a child and attempting to cause a child to watch sexual activity during an earlier hearing.

Sentencing, judge Swinnerton said: “There was no real 13-year-old child who you were communicating with, but that doesn’t alter the serious fact that you believed you were communicating with a 13-year-old child.

“That conversation went on for some nine months.

“There are thousands of messages exchanged between the two of you, messages which were frequently heavily sexualised in their content.

“You did discuss at length what you wanted to do to her should you meet.

“It’s highly aggravated by the fact that you send numerous pictures of yourself and others, and went on for some time.

“This was all done for your sexual gratification.

“You have, on the whole, not sought to minimise your behaviour and accepted that you have done wrong.

“There was considerable grooming behaviour used against her.

“I take the view that this offence is so serious that only a sentence of immediate custody can be justified.”

Tantau will serve up to half of his sentence in custody before being released on licence.

He was also handed a 10-year notification requirement and a sexual harm prevention order lasting for the same period, and was told to pay a victim surcharge.