February 2018

Croscombe man snared by paedophile hunter

A Croscombe man who sent sexually explicit photos and messages to a person online who he believed was a 15-year-old girl has been sent to Taunton Crown Court to be sentenced.

Graham James McCarthy was caught in a trap by an online “paedophile hunter” who set up a fake profile and engaged in conversation with the defendant who sent the “girl” photographs of his private parts.

He also sent images of himself performing a sex act via the website Plentyoffish.com, however the person behind the profile then confronted the defendant and the police were informed of what he had been doing.

The 38-year-old defendant, of Honey Mead, pleaded guilty that between April 9-19 last year at Croscombe, being a person aged 18 or over, for the purpose of obtaining sexual gratification, he attempted to intentionally communicate with a person aged under 16, the communication being sexual, namely asking if she wanted to sleep with you and saying what sexual acts you would like to perform on her.

He also admitted attempting to cause a child aged 15 to look at an image of a person engaging in a sexual activity on April 10 when he appeared at a previous hearing before Somerset Magistrates at Yeovil.

Prosecutor Emma Lenanton said that despite knowing that “Jessica Holloway” was 15 (although a fictitious character), McCarthy continued to communicate with her.

“The offence of causing a child to look at an image occurred when during that conversation, he sent her a photo of his erect penis and a video of himself masturbating,” she said.

She said that the offences were “attempted” charges because there was no actual 15-year-old girl.

She added that to the defendant’s credit, he did plead guilty to both allegations at an early stage in the proceedings.

The case had been adjourned for a pre sentence report to be prepared by the Probation Service.

However when the next Bench considered the matters they said the case was so serious that they did not think their powers of punishment were sufficient to deal with the defendant.

They also said they did not have sufficient guidelines in the matter to make a just decision and ordered that McCarthy must appear before a judge at the crown court to be sentenced.

They adjourned the case until February 16 and released him on unconditional bail, but reminded him he must still abide by the rules of the Sex Offenders Register that he was obliged to sign after the initial hearing.