December 2017

Paedophile pleads guilty

A steward at the Britannia Royal Naval College has admitted trying to meet a 14-year-old girl for sex after being trapped by an online child protection team

Michael Watton groomed what he thought were three girls aged 10 to 14 in internet chat rooms but in reality he was talking to adults from the team based in Devon

He sent messages to a fictitious 14-year-old girl called Ellie May and arranged to meet her at Paignton railway station in October.

Instead of finding a young girl waiting for him, he was greeted by members of the Internet Interceptors & UK database group who detained him until police arrived to arrest him.

They filmed their operation and a 45-minute video

Watton, 56, of Church Road, Dartmouth, admitted attempting to meet a child after grooming with the intention of committing a sexual offence.

The allegation relates to the incident at Paignton on October 21 this year in which he arranged to meet Ellie May, with whom he believed he had been exchanging sexual messages online.

He admitted two counts of attempted sexual communication with a child and asked for seven similar cases to be taken into consideration.

Judge Geoffrey Mercer, QC, adjourned the case until January 4, for a probation report and remanded Watton in custody.

Watton works as a steward at the BRNC in Dartmouth, which numbers the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles, and Prince Andrew among its alumni.

Internet Interceptors are a nationwide group which works with the Plymouth-based men who detained Watton at the railway station.

Their members pose as under age girls in chat rooms to expose adult groomers.