A 48-year-old man who swapped sexually explicit images with under-age girls — and met one so he could take photographs of her — has been jailed for 4½ years.
Nottingham Crown Court was told that police were tipped off by a paedophile hunter, who found David Clarkson online.
After they raided his flat on Yorke Drive, Newark, Clarkson told police he blamed his actions on the girls’ parents for not properly monitoring their internet usage.
Prosecutor Mr Kevin Jones said police, who seized Clarkson’s computer equipment and his iPhone, arrested him on suspicion of having indecent images of children.
Clarkson met his victims on Facebook or on an adult introduction website. He encouraged them to move on to a messenger service that was unregulated.
Mr Jones said police tracked his first victim, a 15-year-old girl, to Derby.
“She used Facebook and said random people would add themselves to her account,” he said. “One such person was David Clarkson.
“He collected her in Derby. When she met him, he wasn’t what she expected.
“The photo was noticeably different to the reality.
“She found him creepy and weird — and said it didn’t feel right. But she travelled back with him (to Newark) in his car.
“He produced clothing in packages, which he said was in her size. It was a baby-doll outfit.
“She got fully undressed and put on the outfit.
“He produced a camera from nowhere and commenced taking pictures.”
Mr Jones said in an online chat Clarkson called a second under-age girl a “hot little number.”
He said Clarkson was aware of the girls’ ages.
He asked for a picture of the second victim in her school uniform, but she sent him one of her in a bikini.
They exchanged sexually-explicit messages and pictures.
Mr Jones said Clarkson told a third girl, who sent him sexually-explicit photographs and one of her performing a sex act on herself, he was going to jail because she was 14.
Clarkson said maybe he should get a ferry to France — a reference to a high-profile case in which a school teacher absconded abroad with an under-age girl.
Clarkson sent the third girl a sexually-explicit picture of the first victim.
He contacted someone he believed to have been a 13-year-old called Jodie and sent a near-naked picture of the third victim.
Jodie, however, was the male paedophile hunter, who reported Clarkson to the police, said Mr Jones.
Clarkson pleaded guilty to 15 charges relating to the possession and distribution of indecent images, inciting sexual activity and the sexual exploitation of minors, as well as inciting sexual activity over a webcam.
The charges included possession of an extreme pornographic image of a woman and an animal, and perverting the course of justice.
He initially faced 23 charges. The judge ordered the rest to remain on file.
A co-accused, Lisa Hazelwood, 32, of Neston Gardens, Leicester, who Clarkson met on a swingers’ website and went on to have a relationship with him, admitted possession of five indecent images of under-age girls.
The perverting the course of justice charge related to an instruction by Clarkson for her to destroy computer equipment following his arrest.
He sent her the images, claiming it was for her opinion on the girls’ ages.
Mr Jeremy James, defending Clarkson, said he was a recluse.
He said Clarkson had not targeted websites that under-age girls frequented, but adult sites where they should not have been.
“He should have desisted (when he found out their ages) but he didn’t,” Mr James said.
“He only met one. He is being sentenced for webchat — talking about it, rather than arranging to meet them — albeit graphic webchat.”
Mr James Armstrong-Holmes, for Hazelwood, described her as disinhibited.
He said she was suffering from mental health problems at the time she was involved with Clarkson.
Sentencing Clarkson, Recorder Mr Steven Evans said: “I am told you were socially-isolated. Your focus was young girls — children.
“Your approach was quite sophisticated, so that your activities would not come to light.
“You also engaged in trying to weed out the paedophile catchers.
“Youngsters need to be protected from people like you.”
In addition to the jail term, Mr Evans issued an indefinite sexual harm prevention order and told Clarkson he would be on the sex offenders’ register for life.
Mr Evans sentenced Hazelwood to a three-year community order, made a seven-year sexual harm prevention order, and ordered her to sign the sex offenders’ register for five years