May 2017

Sexual groomer caught by self-styled paedophile hunter has his jail term cut

A sexual groomer who was caught by a self-styled paedophile hunter has had his jail term halved by top judges.

Mark Pattinson, 58, of Thackham’s Lane, Hartley Wintney, was jailed for two years at Winchester Crown Court on February 9.

He admitted attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming, Judge Clement Goldstone QC told London’s Appeal Court on Tuesday (May 16).

His crime came to light after police were contacted by a man “describing himself as a paedophile hunter”, the judge said.

The man set up a fake profile, including photos, on a dating website claiming to be a female called “Sammi” aged 18, the court was told.

The QC said Pattinson and “Sammi” began to exchange messages and at a very early stage “Sammi” told him she was 15.

Despite this he continued contacting “Sammi” and the conversation soon became “of a sexual nature”.

Asked what he was looking for, Pattinson said a “partner or hook-up”.

The court was told he asked her for any “sexy photos” of herself that she could send him and about how much sexual experience she had.

In a “graphic conversation” he indicated what he would like to do with her.

He told her they could “just play” until she was “ready” and not to tell anyone about their conversations because of her age.

A time and place was fixed for the two of them to meet at Winchfield railway station on July 19 last year, the court was told.

When Pattinson drove to the station he was confronted by the paedophile hunter who reported him to the police.

His barrister, Barnaby Shaw, argued his jail term was far too harsh and ought to be cut.

He pointed to it being an attempt and no actual contact with a child taking place.

Pattinson “accepted his behaviour was problematic and he needed help in addressing it”, added the barrister.

Judge Goldstone agreed the crown court judge had “fell into error” in imposing the sentence he did.

The judge, who was sitting with Lord Justice Davis and Mr Justice Stuart-Smith, allowed the appeal.

Pattinson’s jail term was halved, to one year.