September 2021

Pervert captured after sending explicit online chat requests to paedophile-hunters posing as girl

A pervert who thought he was having a sexualised conversation with a teenage girl was actually speaking to an online decoy.

Christopher Machin struck up a conversation with what he believed to be a teenager on an online dating site, but despite the girl telling him she was only 14, he continued to hound her for pictures.

But what the 33-year-old didn’t know, was that he was in fact speaking to an adult decoy whose aim it was to capture online perverts and report them to police.

The decoy was acting for North-east paedophile hunting team Child Online Safety Team (COST).

Machin appeared at Teesside Crown Court on Tuesday to be sentenced for attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity and engaging in sexual communication with a child.

He pleaded guilty to the charges at a previous hearing.

Emma Atkinson, prosecuting, said the decoy had set up a profile, named Page18 on an online dating site, and on February 28, Machin contacted her.

The girl immediately told Machin she was 14 and from Gateshead, but he wasn’t deterred, instead he “persistently” asked for a picture.

After an image of a “decoy child” was sent over, Machin then asked for a “cheeky bum pic”.

Ms Atkinson said that Machin did have concerns, though – and he told the decoy he was “nervous” and that he wanted her to “prove 100% it was her”.

Machin “suggested they have a video call to see her face” and moved the conversation over to WhatsApp.

He told the girl “not to be scared” and said he wanted to be the “first lad to chat naughty to you”.

Ms Atkinson said he “suggested a game where he sent a picture and she would have to match it”.

Machin, understood to previously be from Darlington, also made an explicit 19 minute phone call to the girl, the court heard.

When he was finally arrested on February 25, Machin admitted what he’d done but told police he “abused cocaine and alcohol daily” so could not remember the call or some of the chats.

Amrit Jandoo, defending, said Machin had shown “remorse” and was “aware of the serious nature of the offences”.

He said Machin had suffered from anxiety and depression and was “prepared for a sentence that may deprive him of his liberty”.

Sentencing Machin, of Hawthorn Cottages , Northallerton, North Yorkshire, Judge Timothy Stead said the defendant “got carried away in a criminal sense”.

He branded Machin’s chats as “disgusting” and gave him a three year community order.

He must also undertake the Horizon programme, complete 40 rehabilitation days and 150 hours unpaid work.

He was also made subject to a five year sexual harm prevention order.