September 2016

Sex offender caught by online paedophile hunters jailed for two years 


A father who arranged to meet a 13-year-old girl and take her virginity has been jailed after he was snared by online paedophile hunters.

Mark Thornton, 50, from Darlington, chatted to underage girls across two different profiles set up by group, Dark Justice.

The group create decoy accounts to track down men who are seeking sexual activity with underage girls. 

Among the sick messages sent by Thornton were requests for risque pictures and he also asked one girl if she was ‘excited’ about losing her virginity with him. 

He admitted two charges of attempting to incite a child under 16 to engage in sexual activity, one charge of attempting to meet a child under 16 and one charge of attempting to meet a child under the age of 16 for the purpose of sexual activity, at Teeside Crown Court.

Thornton was sentenced two years in prison and ordered to sign the sex offenders register for ten years.

During the trial, prosecutor Paul Abrahams said that Thornton began chatting to a social media profile with the name Jessie Amy Thompson in July of this year and soon turned the conversation sexual.

Mr Abrahams said: ‘She said she was 13-years-of-age. That was made quite clear in the conversation.

‘He used what we would call in global terms, grooming. He was asking her to commit penetrative sexual acts.’

Thornton used explicit language and asked her to meet up but no such meeting materialised.

Later the same month, Thornton struck up a conversation with a profile under the name ToonLass13 on the social media site Kik and was again told her age.

Mr Abrahams added: ‘She indicated immediately that she was 13 and called Amy.

‘He told her he had previously had sex with a 15-year-old but she would have been the youngest.

‘He exchanged pictures of his penis and asked for pictures of her but she said she had none.’

‘Thornton then asked: ‘Are you looking forward to losing your virginity babe?’

The following day, Thornton arrived at an Asda car park in Darlington to meet the girl and was caught on camera by Dark Justice.

He was later arrested by police.  

Mr Recorder Wright told Thornton: ‘It is clear to me that you have little to no insight into your offending so you pose a risk to children.

‘You have a sexual interest in children and this is deeply concerning.

‘In fact no children were exposed to your behaviour but you did not know that so I am sentencing you essentially on what was in your mind and what you would have done had you been able to get your hands on a child.

‘You chose to offend in this way. Losing your partner, friends and family is entirely your own fault.’