June 2017

Paedophile ‘caught in online sting’ walks free from court

A man who an online vigilante group claim they caught in a sting walked free from court after pleading guilty to child sex offences.

Paul Hawley, 40, pleaded guilty to two counts of attempting sexual communication with a child and one count of attempting to meet a child following grooming at a hearing at Nottingham Crown Court on June 22.

An online group, Predator Hunters, who pose as children in order to snare potential child sex offenders, say they are responsible for his capture after posing as 13 and 14 year old girls.

Predator Hunters say Hawley, of Firth Road, Retford, arranged to meet a 14-year-old girl, but instead found them and the police waiting for him.

After sentencing on Thursday, June 22, where Hawley was handed a 14-month jail term suspended for two years, the group slammed the sentence as “absolutely disgusting” and “a joke.”

A section of chat logs of what the vigilante group claim was a conversation between one of their members posing as a 13-year-old and Hawley were then posted on social media.

The logs show a sexually explicit conversation involving tights, with who the group say is Hawley and someone claiming to be a 13-year-old girl.

After, the person posing as a 13-year-old says: “what even at my age 13” the person who the group claim is Hawley replied: “never tried it with young las befor why wud u try it” (sic).

Hawley was handed a 14 month prison sentence, suspended for two years and a 30 day rehabilitation activity requirement.

He was also handed a 10-year sexual harm prevention order, placed on the sex offenders register for ten years and made to pay £140 victim surcharge.

The Predator Hunters group’s mission statement says: “As a team we work hard to gain evidence against paedophiles and then get them sentenced.

“Our work has been commended by police forces. We also offer a professional victim support service whether the abuse is current of historical. All communications are kept strictly confidential.”