February 2018

Paedophile caught in live online confrontation with ‘hunters’ locked up

A man caught in a “sting” by online paedophile hunters was jailed for two years after he admitted trying to meet a child following sexual grooming.

Michael Roberts, 31, of Coed Aben, Wrexham, had been unaware that someone from the Internet Interceptors group was posing online as a girl of 14.

Mold Crown Court was told the group had apprehended him at night near a school in Wrexham. A previous hearing heard the operation was broadcast live on the internet.

Prosecuting barrister Michael Whitty said Roberts had a long-term partner but had conversations on Facebook Messenger which became sexual in nature with someone he thought was the child. He requested images of her and sent a graphic picture of himself.

Mr Whitty said they discussed meeting for sex in woods and he had a contraceptive when arrested in December.

“He said, ‘I wasn’t going to do anything with her’, but added “I feel sick about what I have done’,” said Mr Whitty.

Judge Niclas Parry told Roberts: “The communication between you and the individual who you believed to be a child of 14 makes one thing absolutely clear.

“Had you an opportunity to do so and had that individual been a child, you would have taken her to a private location and had sexual activity with her.”

He said Roberts sought to take advantage of being older and groomed the supposed child with flattery.

The judge said: “There was no child. There was no harm.”

But he added: “This was a very serious matter.”

The defendant must register as a sex offender for 10 years and a sexual harm prevention order was made for that period.

January 2018

Man thought he was chatting to a 14 year-old schoolgirl…turns out it was a paedophile hunter

Wrexham man, whose arrest by police following an operation by an online child protection team was broadcast live on the Internet, has admitted attempting to groom a child.

Michael David Roberts, 31, of Coed Aben in Wrexham, appeared from custody at Mold Crown Court and pleaded guilty to two charges.

He admitted attempting to have a sexual conversation with a child, and attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming.

Judge Niclas Parry told him that he would receive credit for his guilty pleas and that would be reflected in the sentence that he would receive.

He adjourned for a pre-sentence report and remanded Roberts in custody pending sentence next month.

Roberts was told that he would have to register as a sex offender on his release.

The defendant exchanged messages with a person he believed to be an under aged girl and arrangements were made to meet.

But it turned out that he was exchanging messages with an online decoy and when arrangements were made to meet he was confronted and arrested with it all being recorded and broadcast on an internet live stream.

He admitted that between December 3 and December 8 last year that for the purpose of obtaining sexual gratification he attempted to have a sexual communication with a person he believed to be under 16.

Roberts also pleaded guilty that on December 9 following sexual grooming, of a person he believed to be a child aged 14 that he attempted to meet for the purpose of committing a sexual offence.

Details of the prosecution case were not opened at the crown court.

But at an earlier hearing at Flintshire Magistrates’ Court at Mold, the court heard that Roberts had been in touch with a female, who he believed to be a 14-year-old girl in London, but who was an adult and a member of a paedophile hunter group, Internet Interceptors.

It was claimed that a meeting had been arranged at Wrexham and when he turned up the police had been informed and he was arrested.

Prosecutor John Wylde applied for a remand in custody partly for his own protection.

It would not be appropriate for him to return to his home address where there were children.