August 2016

Wincanton paedophile jailed after online sting by online hunters


A paedophile has been jailed for 12 months after sending explicit messages to vigilantes posing as a 13-year-old girl.

Paul Platten, 38, of Wincanton, Somerset, sent messages and naked pictures of himself after contacting a fake profile on social media.

He was tracked down and confronted by the vigilante group after he arranged to meet the girl in London.

He was sentenced at Taunton Crown Court earlier having admitted the charges.

Platten admitted three charges of attempting to incite a child in sexual activity and one charge of attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child.

Judge James Patrick said: “You sent to someone you thought was a 13-year-old girl a number of photographs of you naked.

“In my judgment these offences are so serious that they warrant an immediate custodial sentence.”

Prosecuting, Caroline Bolt said members of a vigilante group set up a fake profile on social media of a 13-year-old girl called Sarah Rose.

Although he arranged to meet the girl in London, he later called it off. But the vigilantes tracked him down with the information he gave in his messages.

Representing Platten, Rebecca Bradberry said: “He has lost his home, he has lost his job.

“Given the confrontation that has taken place and that this has been plastered on social media he is not able to go back to Wincanton and his job.”

He was ordered to register as a sex offender and was made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order – both of which will last for 10 years.

July 2016

Paedophile admits grooming after being confronted during online sting


A Wincanton man has admitted attempting to groom a 13-year-old girl after vigilante investigators set up a fake online profile of the victim and filmed themselves confronting him outside his home.

Paul Platten, aged 38, of Balsam Fields, appeared before Taunton Crown Court via a video link from HMP Bristol.

He admitted one count of attempting to incite a child to sexual activity on March 17 this year, and again on March 19 and 20.

He also admitted a charge of attempting to engage in sexual activity with a child between March 8 and June 12.

The alleged offences arose as a result of an investigation by a London-based group, called The Hunted One, which generated a fake profile of a 13-year-old girl which the defendant accessed through an online app.

The group posted their video online, showing them confronting Platten over his crimes.

During the course of the three months he sent her naked photographs of himself, sent her explicit messages and asked her where she lived and said he intended to meet up with her.

The case was adjourned until August 19 for a pre-sentence report, with Judge David Ticehurst warning Platten that “all options” were available for sentence.

Platten was remanded in custody and ordered to sign the sexual offenders register.