July 2017

Ex-councillor sent sick messages to someone he thought was girl, 13

A former councillor has been jailed after he was caught by a vigilante group as he tried to groom two young girls online.

Ralph Sutton thought the girls were called Kirsty and Jade and aged 13 and 12 but in fact they were bogus profiles set up by a self-appointed paedophile hunter.

Sutton has previous convictions for downloading indecent images and trying to contact a 14-year-old girl online and was subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) which banned any internet contact with children.

He flouted the order by contacting the girls on Whatsapp and a messaging service called Link while using the online identities of Metal!! and Gothic, Exeter Crown Court was told..

Within hours of making contact he turned the chat to sex and made explicit suggestions about what he wanted to do with the girls.

He offered to meet the 13-year-old and take her out into the countryside on his motorcycle to take part in sexual acts.

He was snared by a secret vigilante group called The Midlands Hunters, who alerted the police and posted parts of his chat log on their website.

Sutton is a former town councillor in Combe Martin, North Devon, where he moved to start a new life after his previous conviction in London in 2010.

He had been on a Sex Offenders Treatment Course and was made subject to the SHPO which controlled his use of the internet. He was also being monitored by the police under a Multi Agency Public Protection Arrangement.

Sutton, aged 56, of Orchard Lane, Combe Martin, admitted two counts of attempted sexual communication with a child, attempting to incite a child to sexual activity, and two breaches of the SHPO.

He was jailed for 30 months by Judge Phillip Wassall, who told him:”The order was in place to stop you communicating with and grooming children on the internet for the purpose of sexual exploitation.

“You made contact with these girls on the internet and were grooming them for some form of sexual activity. You may not have intended to meet them personally.

“It seems to have been more a question of fuelling your fantasies rather than deliberately intending to exploit the girls directly.

“Nonetheless, this was serious. There was specific discussion of explicit sexual acts and anyone reading the logs would not have known these were fantasies. You gave the clear impression of wanting to meet.

“You were trawling for young girls on the internet. Luckily, you were in fact in contact with an internet support group who were looking out for paedophiles who were preying on girls.

“There is no evidence of entrapment or enticement. What came out was entirely from your mind.

Miss Janice Eagles, prosecuting, said Sutton made contact with what he thought was a 13-year-old girl called Kirsty in April without realising her profile had been created as part of a sting operation.

He called himself Metal!! and in the space of a few hours he sexualised the chat. In reality he was talking to a man called Shraine Cumber, aged 35, from Leicester, who is part of The Midland Hunters group.

Miss Eagles said:”There was no entrapment. It was Sutton who turned the discussion to sexual matters, initially saying he wanted to kiss and cuddle and go to Leicester to fetch her.

“He suggested giving her cider and go somewhere quiet. The next day there was more explicit discussion in which he talks about sexual activity and him acting as daddy and she as his sexy daughter.

Mr Tumber traced him through hints in the chat logs, contacted the police, and broke off the conversation. Sutton resumed it under the new alias of Gothic.

He went on to fall for another fake profile of a 12-year-old girl called Jade, also set up by Mr Cumber, before police arrested him in May. He sent her a picture of himself wearing only underpants and apparently aroused.

Mr Warren Robinson, defending, said the offences happened when Sutton was suffering from depression and ill health. He was fantasising rather than actually trying to arrange face-to-face contact.

He said the vigilante group had not set up a confrontation but had humiliated Sutton by sending copies of the chat logs to members of his family.

June 2017

Shamed former-councillor admits asking girl, 13, for naked pictures online

A former Devon town councillor and registered sex offender has admitted contacting under age girls online and asking one 13-year-old to send him a naked picture of herself.

Ralph Sutton, a former town councillor in Combe Martin in North Devon, broke an order not to use the internet to contact children which was made after he sent an indecent image to a 14-year-old girl.

He made subject of a Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) in 2010. Its conditions include a ban on online contact with children without the permission of their parents.

Sutton, aged 56, of Orchard Lane, Combe Martin, admitted two counts of attempted sexual communication with a child, attempting to incite a child to sexual activity, and two breaches of the SOPO.

The offences were all committed in April and May this year and involved contact with a girl he believed to be 13, and who he asked to send him a naked picture.

Judge Geoffrey Mercer, QC, adjourned the case for a probation report and remanded Sutton in custody.

The original SOPO was made at Southwark Crown Court in 2010 when he admitted contacting a 14-year-old girl.

He moved to Devon and broke the order for the first time in 2013 by joining Facebook. He was conditionally discharged and a new SOPO was put in place.

This specified he had to make his computers available to police and could not contact anyone under 16 without the permission of a parent or guardian who was informed about his previous offending.