January 2018

Online team snared St John Ambulance volunteer who groomed ’12-year-old girl’ for sex

A St John Ambulance volunteer who attempted to groom a ’12-year-old’ girl for sex was arrested after being confronted by an online child protection team

Paul Evans, of Sandy Ridge in SandfieldsPort Talbot, had responded to a social media profile of a 12-year-girl which was in fact a false account created by a group which targets paedophiles.

Swansea Crown Court heard the group had used an image of a 12-year-old girl, which was the daughter of one of them, who is now an adult and had given permission for the image to be used.

Evans, 49, had spotted it on a social media site and started to send sexually explicit messages to what he believed was a 12-year-old girl, including an image of his genitals and detailing acts he wanted to do.

Helen Randall, prosecuting, said: “She [the mother of the child in the image] repeatedly told him she was 12-years-old, but that did not deter him.

“He asked her to get a train from Cardiff to Port Talbot train station where he would meet her and take her home.

“He said he would make sure his wife was asleep” – and then detailed a series of sex acts for them to engage in.

However, when he turned up at the station, he was confronted by adult members of the group, who then contacted the police.

Evans had been a St John Ambulance volunteer since 2007, both as a first aider and an ambulance driver. 

Sentencing, Judge Peter Heywood said: “You have two previous totally unrelated convictions more than 20 years ago, so you are effectively of clean character.

“You thought you were dealing with a 12-year-old girl called Lucy.

“You clearly intended to meet and engage in sexual activity.

“How a man of your maturity thinks it is appropriate to not only engage in sexual talk but to think of meeting with her beggars belief.

“But you were not dealing with a child, but a vigilante group.

“They had put up a picture online, with [the subject’s] permission, and you made contact with her.

“You liked her profile and sent many messages over time that you were keen to engage in sexual activity with her.

“That continued and you were clearly keen to carry that out.

“You must have had the shock of your life when she didn’t attend [the meeting at Port Talbot railway station] and were confronted by a vigilante group.”

Evans was jailed for two years, and told he would serve half of that in custody, and made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order for 10 years.

He was also told he would have to register as a sex offender for the next 10 years and was disqualified from working with children and vulnerable adults.