July 2016

Benwell shelf-stacking pervert hoped to meet schoolgirl for sex


A shop worker hoping for sex with a 13-year-old after he groomed her online was instead met by paedophile hunters Dark Justice.

Newcastle Crown Court heard how shelf-stacker Damian Morton made online contact with who he thought was a schoolgirl called Charlotte.

With sex in mind, he made arrangements to meet her at Manors Metro station in Newcastle. But when he turned up, the 22-year-old was instead confronted by members of Dark Justice and the police.

Robin Thurton, prosecuting, told the court the Dark Justice organisation had established a decoy account under the name of Charlotte on social media website Tagged.

On March 2 this year, Morton contacted ‘Charlotte’ who told him she was 13 and their conversations continued, swapping to another social media platform, WhatsApp, where she again mentioned her age and asked: “Do you remember me?” to which he answered “yes”.

Throughout that day and the next they held conversations referring to meeting up when Morton had finished work at Home Bargains and to sexual activity.

When Morton arrived at the Metro station for their 7.30pm meeting on March 3, police were waiting for him.

Morton, of Gill Street, Benwell, Newcastle, pleaded guilty to attempted grooming.

Jonathan Cousins, mitigating, said his client had no previous convictions and had initially met the girl on an adult website.

He said Morton is an immature and sexually inexperienced man who has had little contact with the opposite sex.

Judge Alistair MacDonald QC sentenced Morton, who has since lost his job, to one year in prison, suspended for two years.

He told him this was a “very, very serious” offence and that he should think himself “very lucky” he met with police that day and not a young teenager or else he would be in a much worse position.

He also ordered Morton to undertake a sex offender programme and a rehabilitation activity.