July 2017

Paedophile thought he was talking to 12-year-old girl online – but it was actually a police officer

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A paedophile sent sexual messages to a 12-year-old girl online, but it was actually a police officer.

Richard Hewitt, from Ellesmere Port, repeatedly wiped his computer’s hard drive to hide his internet history.

The 40-year-old was talking to children as young as nine through Skype and chat rooms trying to get them to send him explicit photos of themselves.

Days later he was snared by vigilante group Dark Justice after travelling to Newcastle to meet what he thought was a 13-year-old girl.

Hewitt is already serving a two-year prison sentence at HMP Northumberland for that offence.

He had another three years and four months added to his term at Chester Crown Court on July 28.

Judge David Hale said: “You have a very bad record for offences of this type.

“You asked these children to do things to themselves for you to look at which you knew to be illegal.”

Hewitt, formerly of Old Chester Road, used Skype to exchange messages with a nine-year-old girl over Skype on January 28, 2016.

Chat history showed she told him her age, but he persisted in asking her what underwear she had on and for her to send him photos.

Hewitt also had a conversation with a 12-year-old through the Chat Avenue website and later Skype across August 4-8.

Nicholas Williams, prosecuting, said it was an undercover police officer posing as the girl.

The paedophile was again aware of her supposed age, but told her he wanted to meet up and ‘be her first’.

The defendant was messaging a 14-year-old victim from the Liverpool area over August 7-8.

During this exchange he said he ‘wished she could come to his address’ and ‘nobody will know’.

Hewitt travelled to Newcastle to meet a 13-year-old girl, which turned out to be a fake profile created by Dark Justice, on August 9.

He was arrested by Northumbria Police and later pleaded guilty to attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming.

After his home was searched officers found an explicit image of a nine-year-old girl and the evidence to charge him with these further offences.

Mr Williams said Hewitt ‘regularly used software to clear the contents of his hard drive’.

The 40-year-old admitted three charges of attempting a child into sexual activity, two concerning a girl under the age of 13 and one regarding a girl aged between 13 and 15.

He had also pleaded guilty to counts of possession of an indecent image of a child and breach of a sexual offences prevention order (SOPO).

Hewitt has been subject to a SOPO since 2007 after he was first convicted of possessing indecent images of a child.

The defendant’s criminal past also included a sexual assault on a 15-year-old girl. He had been following his victim before grabbing her and asking her to touch him.

Hewitt’s SOPO, which is meant to stop him contacting any child under the age of 16, was extended indefinitely.

It also bans him from owning or possessing any device which can access the internet, but he can use library computers.

Judge Hale told Hewitt he had ‘brought this on himself’ because of his repeat offending.

The defendant nodded in agreement before he was led away to the cells.

October 2016

Convicted paedophile, 40, is jailed after being caught by Dark justice

A paedophile caught out by Dark Justice ‘bent his phone like a banana’ to destroy evidence and fought ‘like a pitbull’ when he was confronted in the street, one of the campaigners said.

Richard Hewitt, 40, drove 200 miles from Cheshire to Newcastle thinking he was going to meet a 13-year-old girl after he made contact on a teen chat room.

He had asked the girl called ‘Jessie’ for naked selfies and sent her Whatsapp messages asking for sex, telling her ‘I will be your first’.

Hewitt, who has been subject of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) since 2007, did not realise the profile was a fake, set up by Dark Justice.

The group has been running for two years this month and has led to 64 people being arrested.

When Hewitt – who had claimed to be 22 – arrived in Newcastle in August, the group blocked in his car to stop him leaving. 

The campaigners said he ‘absolutely flipped’ when they stopped him and tried to smash his phone to destroy evidence.

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One of the campaigners suffered a bite injury to the arm and the other a suspected dislocated thumb. 

They said: ‘He looks like a chihuahua, but he fought like a pitbull.’

The 40-year-old asked the girl whether she would 'be ready' for her first time by WhatsApp

The 40-year-old asked the girl whether she would ‘be ready’ for her first time by WhatsApp

He later asked the girl whether she could send him naked selfies - he turned violent when he was met by Dark Justice campaigners 

He later asked the girl whether she could send him naked selfies – he turned violent when he was met by Dark Justice campaigners 

Hewitt, who has 26 offences on his record, admitted attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming and breaching his SOPO.

The 40-year-old served a two-year jail term in 2010 after he sexually assaulted an under age girl in the street and warned police he would ‘come looking for her’ if she told police.   

Judge Robert Adams jailed him for two years, saying Hewitt had a ‘bad record for sexual offending’. 

The judge told him: ‘You arranged to meet her in Newcastle, you drove to Newcastle, you told her it would be OK, you would be her first.

‘When you got here you sent a picture of yourself driving as you approached.

‘Your vehicle was trapped by members of Dark Justice to stop you from driving away.

‘You became agitated and tried to damage your own phone, knowing what might be on it.

‘There is an obvious risk of you committing further offences, as demonstrated by your repeated offending.

‘You have a very bad record for sexual offending generally. The 13-year-old girl in fact did not exist. We do not know what precisely you would have done.’ 

Hewitt sent a message to the girl while he was driving to Newcastle with a picture of his face

Hewitt sent a message to the girl while he was driving to Newcastle with a picture of his face

Hewitt, from Great Sutton, Ellesmere Port, appeared in court via a prison videolink. 

During the sentencing, he mumbled ‘I’m sorry’ and ‘I need help’ until the judge told him to stop interrupting.

Outside court, Dark Justice activist ‘Scott’ said he and his counterpart ‘Callum’ were injured in a struggle during the consultation, although police did not charge Hewitt with any offence of violence.

He said: ‘We were on a chat room and he popped up and straight away messaging us, saying ‘I would like to meet you’.

‘He travelled up the same day.’ 

Scott said: ‘He snapped his own phone and bent it like a banana, trying to destroy the evidence.

‘He went crazy, he absolutely flipped out.

‘He looks like a chihuahua, but he fought like a pitbull.

‘He tried to take my phone. I was a bit shocked at the time. I wasn’t scared, more angry.

‘We have been spat on, but never anything like this.

December 2010

Paedophile jailed for attacking schoolgirl

A PAEDOPHILE has been jailed after he sexually assaulted a 15-year-old school girl in Runcorn.

Warrington Crown Court heard on Friday how Richard Hewitt, of Hinderton Road, Birkenhead, followed the girl as she walked home from school in June, grabbed her and tried to kiss her.

The 34-year-old exposed himself before touching her and then letting her go.

Oliver King, prosecuting, said: “She went to her sister’s friend’s house. Her friend said she was shaken and crying.”

The friend called the police and Hewitt was arrested and interviewed.

He told officers he had received an anonymous text from a woman asking to meet for sex and that he went but felt uncomfortable with the situation and left.

Judge Thomas Teague said: “This was a serious offence and the court must consider the question of dangerousness.

“This matter is particularly grave and I have to decide whether you pose a danger to the public.

“You displayed all the hallmarks of a confirmed pederast. You have no insight into your depraved tendencies.”

Hewitt was convicted of downloading indecent images of a child in 2007, which resulted in him being placed on the sex offenders’ register and being handed a community order.

He also breached his sex offenders’ prevention order after he failed to notify police about a change of address from Chester to Birkenhead between October 2009 and June this year.

David Watson, defending, said: “On the face of it I think he’s dangerous but it’s likely this was an offence that was short-lived.

“The defendant let the complainant go about her business after a moderately short time. That’s the least that can be said.

“This offence marks an escalation in his offending record.”

Hewitt was sentenced to 30 months in prison and was disqualified from working with children.

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