October 2021

Predatory paedophile who tried to meet children for sex using Grindr blamed THEM for using the app

A predatory paedophile who tried to meet children after grooming them on Grindr blamed THEM for being on the app.

In disturbing chats, 55-year-old Marc Harmer also bragged to other like-minded deviants about having sex with a teenage boy.

Harmer said it didn’t happen, and his barrister dismissed it as ‘perverse bravado’.

In one sick chat, ‘lonely’ Harmer said he didn’t consider himself a paedophile as he ‘only does what the teenagers consent to’, and ‘doesn’t harm them in any way’.

But Harmer did try to meet up with someone who he thought was a 14-year-old boy.

He soon realised he had walked into a trap laid by a paedophile hunter group.

Police were called and Harmer’s sick online world was revealed for the first time.

Officers cracked the PIN code to his mobile phone after he had refused to reveal it.

Harmer, from Stalybridge, Tameside, has now been jailed for five years.

Analysis of his phone revealed he had chatted on Grindr with two real teenage boys.

He had also messaged 16 profiles on the app, with users telling Harmer that they were aged from 11 to 15.

Police weren’t able to trace those using those profiles, so weren’t able to prove they were actually children.

But two of them were ‘decoy’ accounts being operated by a paedophile hunter group, Manchester Crown Court heard.

Harmer arranged to meet with who he thought was a 14-year-old boy, at a petrol station in Stalybridge, on August 8, 2019.

In chats on Grindr, the ‘boy’ had told him that he was being thrown out of his home after telling his parents that he was bisexual.

“None of that bothered you,” a judge said, noting that if the child was real, he would have been vulnerable.

Recorder Simon Killeen told Harmer: “In my judgement, what your conduct demonstrates is an amount of predatory behaviour, using a social application site, putting children at risk for your own deviant sexual needs.”

In vile online chats with different profiles, he believed were used by children, Harmer asked their age, enquired what kind of sexual activity they were interested in and often exchanged pictures, prosecutor Nicola Gatto said.

On four occasions he tried to meet up with users he had spoke with online for sex.

The sentencing hearing came after Harmer, of Ridge Hill Lane, Stalybridge, pleaded guilty to 16 counts of attempted sexual communication with a child; four counts of attempting to arrange or facilitate the commission of a child sex offence; two counts of sexual communication with a child; one count of arranging or facilitating the commission of a child sex offence; and one count of possessing an indecent image of a child.

He was ordered to sign the sex offender’s register for 10 years.