October 2001

Paedophile trapped by US detective

A paedophile who tried to seduce a 14-year-old boy on the internet has been jailed after his victim was revealed to be a US detective.

Lawrence Horn, 35, was sentenced at Maidstone crown court to eight years in prison after he admitted eight charges of distributing indecent photographs.

The court was told that Horn believed he was talking to an American teenager called Justin living in Philadelphia.

But Justin turned out to be Detective Mark Bucci from a Philadelphia-based unit, Internet Crimes Against Children.

The prosecution said Horn sent images to Justin and then requested pictures in return which showed sexual acts.

When his phone was cut off because he could not pay the bill, Horn continued their correspondence from internet cafes.

When police raided his home in Stanhope, near Ashford, Kent, they found 500 images which showed children being abused by other children or adults.

Speaking after the case, Detective Constable Paul Walker warned parents to check exactly what their children were doing on the internet.

“Paedophiles using the net will utilise the chat room network to prey on young children and will enter into conversation posing themselves as children.

“These individuals are out there and I cannot emphasise enough that vigilance is required by parents.”

Psychiatric report

Det Con Walker said police forces in the UK and internationally were working together to catch paedophiles.

He said: “Persons who seek out images of child abuse must know that they will inevitably be found out and will be prosecuted.”

A psychiatric report said Horn was unlikely to offend again.

He was placed on the sex offenders register for ten years.