August 2017

Paedophile hunters catch pervert trying to meet girl, 13, for sex at Central Station

A pervert who tried to arrange a meeting with a 13-year-old girl in Newcastle city centre was trapped by a new band of paedophile hunters.

Christopher Penman sent seedy pictures of himself to what he thought was a child and set about grooming her for sex.

But the 28-year-old was in fact talking to a member of Total Exposure, a voluntary organisation policing the internet.

A court heard Penman set up a meeting at Central Station but pulled out on the day it was meant to happen after getting no reply to a text.

However Penman stood shocked as a judge jailed him for 16 months at Newcastle Crown Court.

Locking him up, Judge Edward Bindloss said: “An organisation called Total Exposure, a voluntary organisation that polices parts of the internet, set up a decoy profile for a 13-year-old girl.

“They placed a photograph of a 13-year-old girl and waited for somebody to initiate contact.

“An adult running it would play the part of the 13-year-old girl in conversations if people initiated contact, to see if they were seeking sexual contact.

“You did initiate contact with this person in full knowledge of their age because it was on the profile

“You initiated sexual conversation, you sent sexual images to her and solicited sexual images from her.”

The court heard the decoy girl came across as sexually naive but that did not deter Penman as he communicated with her last month.

Penman, of Tulip Street, Gateshead, who has no previous convictions, pleaded guilty to attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming.

Judge Bindloss said: “You were clearly grooming what you thought was a 13-year-old.

“You were grooming them so you could meet up and have sexual intercourse with them.

“It’s clear penetrative sexual intercourse was contemplated, it was referred to.

“There were plans to meet up in Newcastle, you expected her to travel to your home town. There was talk of meeting at a hotel room for sexual contact.”

Despite not going through with the meeting, police traced Penman to his home and he was arrested.

As well as the prison sentence, Penman must sign the sex offenders’ register for 10 years and was given an indefinite sexual harm prevention order.

The court heard his actions have caused problems between him and his pregnant partner.

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