Dark Justice posed as 13-year-old girl to snare paedophile, 58, who boasted of abusing children
Online hunters posing as a 13-year-old girl caught a paedophile red-handed when he admitted to abuse on WhatsApp.
Paedophile hunters Dark Justice tipped off police when 58-year-old Ian Skittlethorpe, from Gosport, Hampshire, told them he had access to two children.
Skittlethorpe – who avoided jail when sentenced at Portsmouth Crown Court – boasted that he had travelled abroad to abuse children and said he was interested in girls as young as ten.
He made contact with Dark Justice through an account that he believed belonged to a 13-year-old girl called Amy, said prosecutor Tom Wright.
Mr Wright added: ‘In all the contact she was at pains to say she was 13 and living alone in Newcastle.Ian Skittlethorpe was lured into a very sexualised contact with her over a period of days.
‘In very short terms, he was discussing with Amy very sexual matters. He expressed to her his wish to have sex with her.
‘He talks about how it was a long time since he had taken the virginity of a 13-year-old girl. He talked about having consensual intercourse with other young people.’
In the messages, Skittlethorpe asked for naked photos of Amy and urged her to remove her underwear. He also spoke about having sex with a dog.
Skittlethorpe admitted two counts of attempting to cause a child to engage in sexual activity and further admitted ten counts of possessing indecent images.
He also pleaded guilty to one count of possession of extreme pornography and one of distributing one indecent image.
Some of the images were under category A, which includes the worst abuse. He had deleted WhatsApp from his phone, but police found 13 indecent images.
Daniel Reilly, defending, said that Skittlethorpe felt ‘shame’ and ‘deep regret’ at his behaviour and said he had got rid of all of his internet devices.
Recorder Anne Arnold said the case was ‘troubling’ and handed Skittlethorpe an 80-week prison term suspended for two years.
He must sign the sex offenders’ register for ten years, and a sexual harm prevention order means he must not contact children or for ten years or use internet devices without making them available to police.
Skittlethorpe was further ordered to complete 25 hours of rehabilitation and a sex offenders’ group programme.