July 2017

Pervert jailed after thinking he was to meet girl, 14, for sex

A Durham man who thought he was to meet a 14-year-old girl for a sexual encounter was instead greeted at the rendezvous by members of an online child protection group

Karl Banzyni, 56, arranged the meeting within minutes of making contact with what he thought was the teenager ‘Ellie’, via a social media chat site.

Durham Crown Court heard that despite quickly learning her supposed age, he told ‘her’ he would teach her how to kiss and asked her not to wear a bra when they met, so he could, “play with her t*ts”.

Less than two hours after their first internet contact, Banzyni travelled from his home in Durham to the planned meeting point, on a residential street in Gateshead, shortly after 8pm on June 20.

But, as he sat in his blue Skoda car on the street in question, he was approached by a member of the group Guardians of the North who recognised him from the picture he had posted to ‘Ellie’.

Jane Waugh, prosecuting, said when he realised he had fallen for their ‘sting’, he said: “Okay, go ahead, arrest us.”

Police were summoned and, on their arrival, Banzyni told officers: “Okay, I’ll hold my hands up.”

He was arrested and when interviewed he initially claimed he approached someone who was, “quite clearly over 16”, and claimed he was just playing along with what he could see was an obvious set up.

But he gradually made more admissions and confirmed he had used the social media site to try to arrange to meet young girls.

Banzyni, of Brackenfield Road, Framwellgate Moor, admitted a single count of attempting to meet a girl following sexual grooming.

Miss Waugh told the court he has a single relevant conviction, for indecently assaulting a five-year-old girl, for which he served a three-month prison sentence, in 1984.

Jailing him for 15 months, Recorder Atherton also made Banzyni subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and registration as a sex offender, both for ten years.

He also ordered his computer equipment, seized by officers on his arrest, could be forfeited, but Miss Waugh said it was still subject of further police examination.

The defendant asked the judge if his name could be kept out of any reports of his case, but Recorder Atherton refused his request and said he did not feel it was something he could order, in the circumstances.