January 2018

Man put on sex offenders’ programme after sting by paedophile hunter groups

A man began to send intimate photos to an decoy portraying herself as a child after calling her: “Hi, sexy.”

Over nearly a fortnight, Leon Radford asked for nude pictures of the girl, believing her to be 15

It led to the 47-year-old admitting engaging in sexual communications with a child between November 30 and December 12.

Nottingham Crown Court heard that Radford had also communicated and sent sexually explicit chat to two other decoys 

He was put on a sex offenders’ programme for three years and will have restrictions on any contact with girls under 16 as well as limits on his internet use.

Recorder Stephen King said he could have jailed Radford but believed the probation order was a better way of dealing with the case.

“It is very much in the interests of society to help you avoid this sort of behaviour in future.

“This is not a slap on the wrist. If you don’t comply with the requirements, you should expect to be back in court and almost certainly back in custody. Make sure you comply,” he told Radford.

Hannah Whelan, prosecuting, said: “He was caught in a sting operation by two paedophile hunting groups ‘Big Impact’ and ‘Stand Together For Our Kids.'”

They created a Facebook character, giving her a first name and saying she was 15. Radford began an internet conversation.

“He called her ‘hi sexy’. She responded by saying she was 15. There was sporadic messaging over just under a fortnight between the two. There were lewd comments,” said Miss Whelan.

Radford asked her to send some nude photographs and posted her “some images of a sexual nature.

“At one point, he said ‘it turns me on thinking of girls of your age,'” Miss Whelan told the court.

On December 12, the team went to Radford’s home and challenged him. When police arrived, he told them: “I have been silly.”

He said the girl should not have been on Facebook at her age and claimed that in her picture she “looked 21.”

The group challenged him at a house where he had been staying with friends. They played that encounter live over the internet, leaving him unable to return to that address, Mr Smith told the court.

Sixteen days with probation officers were ordered for Radford, formerly of Devon Road, Newark. He had been in custody awaiting sentence.

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