Paedophile caught trying to meet 13-year-old girl for sex – hours after court hearing
A paedophile arranged to meet a 13-year-old girl for sex at Weston-super-Mare’s Grand Pier, just hours after he had appeared in court.
But the ‘victim’ Bradley Alford had been grooming was infact an undercover police officer – and he was arrested in the seaside town on September 15.
The 19-year-old, of Drove Road, Weston-super-Mare, had appeared in court on the morning of his arrest, having pleaded not guilty to other offences.
But what Alford did not realise was that the ‘girl’, called Jade, was in fact an undercover police officer, who had recorded all of their online conversations.
He appeared at Bristol Crown Court on Friday, December 1, to be sentenced for a range of offences which included possession of indecent photos of children, attempting to meet a child, inciting a child to send sexual images and inciting a child to engage in sexual intercourse.
It emerged during the sentencing hearing that police first learned of Alford’s sexual offending when he was arrested following a stabbing at a house party in Bristol in July 2016.
He had used a kitchen knife during a street fight with another teenager, after the pair had argued on social media site Facebook.
While in police custody, officers examined Alford’s phone and found images of young girls posing naked or semi-naked.
Investigators also downloaded his internet history, which revealed he had visited various child pornography websites, and there was evidence of Alford inciting girls – one of whom was only 10 years old – to engage in online sexual activity.
Prosecutor Robin Shellard said: “They were clearly at school and Mr Alford wanted to meet them for sexual purposes knowing their age, and knowing that was under the age of 16.
“A number of girls were spoken to by police but because of their age, because of their embarrassment, not all were frank with what messages had passed between them – which is understandable.”
After his initial arrest, police bailed Alford but suspected he may still be contacting underage girls – and so decided to set up a surveillance operation.
Officers set up a fake Facebook profile for a 13-year-old girl called Jade, who added the defendant online and started messaging him.
Very quickly, the conversation became sexual – as the defendant started demanding images and trying to arrange a meet-up.
Mr Shellard added: “They discussed meeting and Mr Alford asked her to wear something cute or her school uniform.
“He also asked her for some of her underwear to keep, and said he wanted to make pornographic films to sell.
“On September 15, he travelled to Weston-super-Mare so they could meet up. When the police appeared, he ran off but was detained after a short chase. He answered no comment to all questions.”
Judge Peter Blair QC sentenced Alford to six years in a young offenders institution for both the stabbing incident and the sexual offences.
He also made Alford the subject of a sexual harm prevention order and a restraining order, banning him from contacting – directly or indirectly – any of his victims.