June 2017

Pontllanfraith man jailed after he was snared by paedophile hunters

A MAN has been jailed for more than two years after being exposed by an online child protection team

Christopher Lane, of Highmead, Pontllanfraith, was snared after contacting two separate accounts on the online dating app Qeep with girls he believed to be 13 and 14.

Cardiff Crown Court heard that on May 29, the 24-year-old had contacted the first account – “Sophie” – the two accounts within minutes of it being set up by a member of Creep Hunters UK.

Despite being told the fictional girl was 14, Lane engaged in a conversation that lasted a couple of hours, in which he suggested she visit his home and asked her to be his girlfriend.

Andrew Davies, prosecuting, said the explicit conversation led to Lane sending an indecent image of himself to “Sophie.”

He said: “[Lane] asked if he could take her viriginity. He said he was counting down the hours until they met and he was really excited.”

In a chat on May 31, “Sophie” reminded Lane of her age and asked him about the possibility of her falling pregnant.

“[Lane] said that she couldn’t because she hadn’t started puberty and that she wouldn’t get pregnant for another two years yet,” said Mr Davies.

In a later conversation, Lane had agreed to meet “Sophie” at Blackwood bus station, with CCTV images showing him in the area on the afternoon of June 4.

Mr Davies said that in the same day, Lane had also contacted a new profile on Qeep, 13-year-old “Emma”, and continued a conversation with her despite the age “being clearly stated”.

Mr Davies added: “Later that morning he asked her what she was wearing and asked if she wanted to come to his bed.”

On the morning of June 5, a member of Creep Hunters UK living in the Blackwood area was notified about the exchanges and he confronted Lane at his home address, where he was later arrested by police officers.

Mr Davies said: “In interview he admitted to his actions and said the messages were sexualised by mistake. He accepted that his behaviour was disgraceful and absolutely wrong.”

Lane had previously pleaded guilty to one charge of attempting to meet an underage child and three charges of communicating with an underage child with the purpose of sexual gratification.

Prior to handing Lane a 32-month sentence, Judge William Gaskell said: “It was perfectly clear that you were getting sexual excitement in engaging with these conversations with who you believed were young girls.”