September 2017

Pervert jailed after travelling to meet fake 14-year-old girl in Malpas car park

A MAN who arranged to meet what he believed to be a 14-year-old girl after he groomed her online has been jailed.

James Watkin, was arrested after he exchanged 300 messages with a fake 14-year-old girl on a chat room.

Prosecuting, Jason Howells, said the 33-year-old had exchanged messages with a member of the public, who was part of ‘paedophile hunter group’ Patronus, between June 24 and July 23 this year.

Mr Howells said: “The defendant contacted her at 3pm and, within minutes, she indicated she is fourteen.”

The court heard Watkin asked her questions such as whether she was at home alone and whether she was a virgin.

“From then, the conversations become much more explicit,” Mr Howells added. “He sent one explicit picture of himself.

“There are discussions to arrange to meet when her mum is away from the area and about obtaining the contraceptive pill from the GP.”

Mr Howells said, throughout the conversations, there are several references to her being 14-years-old – such as “do you mind me being 14?”, to which he replied “as long as you are happy, I am ok”.

The court heard Watkin, of Abermule, in Powys, arranged to meet up with the fictitious 14-year-old in a car park in the Malpas area of Newport on July 23.

When arriving at the car park, he was confronted by the group of ‘paedophile hunters’.

“He told them he was meeting a 15-year-old for friendship and laughter,” continued Mr Howells. “He then admitted to the conversation and police were called.”

Mr Watkin pleaded guilty to attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming and attempting to incite a child under the age of 16 to engage in sexual activity.

Sentencing him at Newport Crown Court yesterday, Judge Daniel Williams said that Watkin initiated conversations of a sexual nature and that he sent an explicit picture of himself.

Mr Williams said: “You believed she was 14-years-old

“You are 33-years-old and a man of good character. However, penetrative sexual activity was intended.

“Ultimately, no harm was done because she didn’t exist.”

He said the offence is “so serious” that a custodial sentence is necessary.

He sentenced Watkin to 12 months in prison for each charge to run concurrently. A sexual harm prevention order will be in place for 10 years.

Jo Hunt, of ‘paedophile hunter group’ Patronus, now known as Justice Hunters, said: “We are disappointed about the sentence – it would have been better to have a longer sentence, especially because he travelled quite a distance.”