‘Paedophile hunter’ fooled bouncer who thought he was meeting 14-year-old girl
Shaun Torevell, a 48-year-old nightclub bouncer from the Manchester, has been found guilty of attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming at Luton Crown Court.
Earlier this year Torevell travelled more than 150 miles by motorbike to Luton railway station, where he believed he was going to meet a 14-year-old girl he had been talking to online.
The paedophile hunter had set up a Facebook account page for a fictitious 14-year-old named Jenni Johnston, using a photo a friend when she was that age.
Torevell send a friend request to the account on May 3 this year, and subsequently sent suggestive messages and photos, including a photos of his penis, before arranging a meeting on May 9.
However, the girl did not exist: Toverell had been speaking to a man named Neil Ivall – a self-styled ‘paedophile hunter’, who told the jury his actions had been prompted by a member of his family having been a victim of grooming.
Ivall runs the website Chris Fear Paedophile Hunters, where a site introduction says “our methods of catching sexual predators may divide opinion but however there is no denying that we are raising awareness of an issue we should all be concerned about.”
Ivall told the jury he set up a fake Facebook account in the name of a 14-year-old, using the picture of a friend when she was that age.
The public profile gave the girl’s date of birth as being 2002. “We make the girl’s age clear, straight away,” he said.
On Tuesday 3 May he received a friend request from Torevell and two days later the defendant is said to have told the ‘girl’ saying she was ‘bang tidy’
The jury heard Torevell said ‘I hope you don’t mind chatting to an older guy’ and later sent her explicit pictures of himself and messages that made it clear he wanted sex.
In another message, the doorman told her: “I work in a few clubs in Manchester. I am a bouncer. When I am bored I take my black Harley Davidson for a blast.”
Mr Ivall said he made it clear the girl was 14, offering the defendant a way out.
“I am not a paedophile,” the defendant told the jury. “The conversations on Facebook were crude, but it was bravado. She never once said I was being inappropriate, but she would reply with kisses and smiley faces.
“I thought she existed and I was going to meet the woman in the photograph. There is no way I would date a 14 year old girl.”
Judge Philip Bartle QC granted him bail while probation reports are prepared, but warned Torevell: “You have been found guilty of an extremely seriously offence. There is a real likelihood the sentence will be one of immediate custody.”
Sentencing is scheduled to take place on October 21.