July 2017

Pervert, 27, who was snared by vigilantes after asking a schoolgirl, 14, for ‘naughty pictures’ and trying to meet her for sex is spared jail

A pervert was snared by paedophile hunters when he turned up to meet an underage girl for sex.

Assistant restaurant manager David Coyle thought he had been sending explicit chats to a 14-year-old teen called Ellie over social media site Whisper in June.

But Newcastle Crown Court heard the 27-year-old, who had claimed to be three years younger than his true age, had been snared by Guardians of the North.

The group’s members pose as children to expose men trying to have illegal contact with them.

Within hours of meeting online, Coyle had sent a series of graphic sexual messages to the account who he thought was Ellie.

He had called the schoolgirl ‘cute as f***’, asked her personal, explicit questions, queried if she could ‘get out of school’ and asked her for ‘naughty pictures’.

When Coyle turned up to a pre-arranged meeting in the street with who he thought was Ellie, he sent a message saying he believed he was being ‘set up’ and that ‘something had spooked him’.

He was collared by the Guardians of the North, sitting in his car nearby.

Prosecutor Richard Herrmann told the court: ‘They took possession from him of his mobile phone and car keys before the police were contacted.’

The court heard Coyle was carrying condoms in his car when he was arrested.

Coyle, of Sycamore Park, Brandon, County Durham, admitted attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming.

Judge Deborah Sherwin sentenced him to 20 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, with rehabiliation and treatment requirements.

Coyle must abide by a sexual harm prevention order and sign the sex offenders register for ten years.

The judge told him: ‘Over the course of 24 hours matters escalated very quickly because from chatting to her you raised with her all sorts of sexual possibilities of things you wanted to do to her.

‘There was an idea to meet up. You arrived to meet her and drove to the area where you expected her to be.

‘At the last moment you got cold feet, no doubt because you realised you had been set up. You were stopped by those who were setting you up.

‘Of course, Ellie never existed, she was a persona adopted by a member of Guardians of the North, a group that go on the internet and pose as young girls.

‘At the time you were conversing with her you thought she was a real person and the arrangements meet up were real.’

The judge said the suspended sentence means the probation service can work with Coyle to prevent further offending.