AN IRAQI migrant, who sent messages of a sexual nature to a decoy profile of a 15-year-old girl operated by a paedophile hunter group, has been jailed.
Rebar Mohammed, 27, of no fixed abode, appeared at Newport Crown Court on Friday, February 2 after previously pleading guilty to attempting to meet a girl under 16 following grooming.
Speaking through a Kurdish Sorani interpreter, he had also pleaded guilty to sexual communication with a child.
Prosecuting, Jason Howells said: “A member of the volunteer group PH Balance, a self-described child protection group, on November 17 created a fake profile of a girl named ‘Felicity’, aged 15.
“From November 17, ‘Felicity’ engaged a conversation with the defendant, originally on one internet format and then moving to the WhatsApp format.”
Mr Howells told the court that Mohammed and the decoy spoke “from November 20 through to and including December 19”, with 13 hours of conversation.
“Throughout the conversation, Felicity made it clear she was a girl who was 15 years of age,” said Mr Howells.
Mr Howells said that Mohammed asked the girl if she was a virgin and then sent a photograph of his penis to her.
The defendant later arranged to meet Felicity at the bridge near Newport Leisure Centre on December 19 where he was met by PH Balance members and subsequently arrested by the police.
He admitted to police that he had sent the messages but claimed he thought the girl was 23.
Defending, Ben Waters said that Mohammed had lived a “very lonely and isolated life” since fleeing his home county of Iraq in 2015.
“The defendant has a very limited command of English – he is quite an isolated individual,” he said. “He kept himself to himself.
“The defendant accepts he was using dating websites. He accepts he began the conversation with the decoy”
Mohammed gave evidence at the hearing, after clarification was sought over one particular message sent by the defendant to the decoy.
“Did you send a message saying “can I sleep with you xx?” asked Mr Waters, with Mohammed replying: “Yes.”
The barrister asked the defendant to explain what he meant by the message.
“I did not have any meaning to have a physical relationship with the girl,” said Mohammed.
“Did you mean you intended to have sexual intercourse with her?” asked Mr Waters, with Mohammed replying: “No.”
Concluding, Judge Tracey Lloyd-Clarke did not accept Mohammed’s claim regarding the nature of his message.
“There was general and friendly and even affectionate conversation from you,” she said. “But there was also sexual content during your contact. You ask for photos where you could see her breasts and made reference to sexual activity between you.
“I am satisfied it was a request for penetrative sexual intercourse with her.”
Mohammed was sentenced to 18 months in prison and made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order for a period of 10 years.