February 2017

‘Impotent’ grandfather, 70, went to a McDonald’s with condoms and Viagra to have sex with a ’14-year-old girl’

A 70-year-old grandfather from Southampton was snared by a paedophile hunter after he arrived at a McDonald’s with condoms and viagra to meet a 14-year-old girl.

James Ryan was exchanging messages on Facebook with a girl he believed was called Amy.

But the profile was fake, and had been set up by a driver in the armed forces, who wanted to trap paedophiles.

Ryan was jailed for eight months by a judge at Oxford Crown Court after admitting to trying to meet a girl under 16 following grooming. 

The court heard Ryan spoke to ‘Amy’ the day after Catton set up the profile on October 31 last year.  

Prosecutor Alan Blake told the judge that the conversation quickly turned sexual in nature. 

Pensioner Ryan asked ‘Amy’ if she was a virgin. Another explicit message said: ‘I’d like to do everything with you but it’s your decision how far you go. If you want to kiss and cuddle I’ll be happy, if you want to f***, even better.’ 

Further messages asked Amy about the pair performing sex acts on each other.  

He warned ‘Amy’ that moderators would be watching underage people on Facebook and suggested they talk on messaging app Kik. He also suggested she changed his name to one of her school friends in her phone so her mother would not find out about their conversations. 

Ryan put his head in his hands in the dock, where he sat dressed in a suit and tie, as the messages he sent were read to the court.

The court heard that Ryan arranged a meeting with ‘Amy’ at a McDonald’s in Oxfordshire on November 3 where he drove from his home in Southampton.

Mr Blake said: ‘The meeting was set to take place at a McDonalds and following that meeting the expectation was they would return to her home for whatever would take place.’

When Ryan arrived at the fast food restaurant Mr Catton knocked on his car window and asked him what he was doing. Ryan said he was meeting a friend called Amy who he thought was 18. Mr Catton told him she was 14 and contacted the police.

Mr Blake said: ‘Viagra tablets and condoms were in the car, he said they were from a couple of years ago.

‘The Viagra was prescribed in June 2011 had an expiry date February 2016. The condoms were unopened in a sealed packet of three with expiry date March 2019.’

Matthew Scott, defending, said the condoms and Viagra had been left in Ryan’s car for a long time and he did not intend to use them.

‘He has erectile dysfunction, he hasn’t been able to get an erection for many years,’ he said.

‘Your Honour has heard that the Viagra pills were in his car having been prescribed many years ago. He says he had simply thrown them in the glove compartment of his car many years earlier and they had just sat there.

‘His fantasies clearly ran away with themselves and it is a sad story of a man with no sex life sat in front of a computer realising a fantasy that was wholly inappropriate.

‘This is a case of a sad man in the autumn of his years letting his fantasy run away with him and doing something for which he is now hideously embarrassed.’

He added that Ryan was a father figure to his grandson and spoke of references from his ex-wife, son, and daughter, about how he had supported his family.

Ryan, who worked as a lift engineer and crane engineer, was supported by his daughter, Tracy Ryan, in court. He had admitted attempting to meet a girl under 16 following grooming at an earlier hearing.

In her sentencing remarks, Judge Maria Lamb said: ‘In late October last year a member of the public set up a profile of a 14-year old-girl.

‘It was of course a complete fiction but you believed it to be reality and it brought a response from you pretty much the very next day. You began a correspondence with what you believed was this 14-year-old girl asking her in a very short space of time sexually explicit details.

‘It was an exchange with someone you believed to be a child and someone you believed to be a sexually inexperienced child at that. Penetrative activity was clearly something within contemplation.

‘You arranged to meet this girl while her mother was out. This was fairly devious on your part.

‘You had a protracted sexually explicit exchange and groomed her. You drove from Hampshire to Oxfordshire to meet her.

‘I have read references from your ex-wife Norma, your son James who looked at your predicament and opined its a consequence of your retirement and ill-health which has isolated you.

‘Your daughter Tracy speaks of you much the same and speaks of you as a supportive father figure and grandfather to her son James.

‘What has brought you to this court has been an unhealthy interest of sex with a child – that is why you are here.

‘Precisely what would have happened if you had met with a 14-year-old Amy perhaps remains to be seen. This offence is the grooming and thereafter the attempt at meeting.

‘You are a man with no previous convictions, have been a hard-working man and a family man. You are a man with significant health problems.’

Explaining his vigilante move, Mr Catton told the judge: ‘I have a three-year-old daughter. I don’t want her to grow up in a world where people are willing to have sex with and exploit underage females.’ 

Ryan was jailed for eight months, gave him a sexual harm prevention order and placed on the sex offender’s register for 10 years.