February 2018

A University of Hull senior lecturer who sent sexually-explicit messages to an under-age “girl” was caught by online paedophile hunters.

Sunil Shastri, 62, was hoodwinked by online child protection team, ‘Guardians of the North’, who posed as a 13-year-old girl whose name was posted online with a telephone number.

The disgraced academic – who has since resigned from his post as the university’s senior lecturer in Biological and Environmental Science, which he had held since 1994 – contacted the ‘child’ on WhatsApp and introduced himself as ‘Sunil’, attaching a “winky-face smile” emoji.

The married father-of-one then asked her to send him pictures of intimate parts of her body and messaged her about sexual acts, and told the ‘girl’ he would like to give her a “kiss and a cuddle” and meet up with her.

Recorder John Thackray gave Shastri a four-month jail sentence, but suspended this for two years because he was a “hard-working family man” who posed a “very low risk” of reoffending and had shown remorse for his “disgraceful” behaviour.

Shastri will undergo 10 days’ rehabilitation and take part in a sex-offenders’ treatment programme. He was also ordered to sign on the sex-offenders’ register for seven years.