July 2015

Man jailed after being snared by internet paedophile hunters ‘Dark Justice’


A man who thought he was meeting a 13-year-old girl but had really been ensnared by internet paedophile hunters has been jailed.

Stephen Short, 57, from Blyth, Northumberland, brought wine and Viagra to the meeting that had actually been arranged by the group Dark Justice.

Short is now the fourth person to be jailed following the group’s undercover work where they pose as underage girls online.

During conversations on phone apps Scout and WhatsApp, the sex offender spoke about having sexual intercourse, sent explicit videos of himself and asked for photos of her.

Nick Adlington, prosecuting, told Newcastle Crown Court that on a number of occasions Short was told that she was only 13 years old but he said it was fine.

“He suggested a meeting and said he would bring wine and they could watch DVDs together,” he said.

The court heard a meeting was arranged at the Centre for Life in Newcastle where the group rang the police and he was arrested.

Mr Adlington said: “At the time of his arrest he had two bottles of wine and three Viagra tablets with him.”

After being detained Short fully disclosed what had happened to the police and said: “I’m stupid I should not have done it.”

Sentencing him to 16 months in prison, Judge Bernard Gateshill QC said there was no mitigation in his case and his culpability was high.

“You did your best to arrange a meeting, you came prepared with drinks that you would have used to inebriate your victim if there had been a 13-year-old girl waiting for you,” he said.

“Fortunately no such girl was waiting for you and you were then arrested.”

He also placed Short on the sexual offenders register for ten years.

Rachael Landin, defending, said he had not gone online intending to find a child and he had shown immediate remorse.

Previously John Rudd, 57, Colin Patterson, 57, and Roger Lee, 45, have all been jailed after being snared by the ‘Dark Justice’ group.