February 2018

Prison for man caught by paedophile hunters 

A Devon man has been jailed for arranging to meet a 13-year-old girl at the train station but instead being confronted by a group of vigilante paedophile hunters.

Gary Parker, 43, was snared by UK Database who filmed his citizen’s arrest at St David’s Station in Exeter.

They told him the person he thought was a 13-year-old girl was really a fictitious online creation.

Parker, of Brays Close, Crediton, immediately admitted what he had done.

In court he pleaded guilty to:

Attempting to meet a girl under 16 for sexual activity;

Attempting to engage a child in sexual communication via Facebook Messenger;

Attempting to arrange or facilitate a sexual offence with a girl.

The sentencing was:

  • 15 months on count 1

    6 months on count 2 – Concurrent

    6 months on count 3 – Concurrent

He was jailed for a TOTAL of 15 months.

It is the latest in an increasing number of cases involving paedophile hunters to come before the courts.

The offences took place between December 4 and December 9.

Judge Graham Cottle said: “These offences arise out of short series of events involving a fictitious girl called Sammy.

“The prevalence of, and increase in, this type of offending is of great concern and sentencing must reflect the extent of that concern. The message has to be sent out and received that men like you, with or without previous convictions, who may engage in this sort of activity are committing a serious offence, which unless there are wholly exceptional circumstances, they will receive an immediate custodial sentence.

“However difficult you find it to accept what you’ve done it’s quite clear the plans you had for this fictitious girl involved sexual activity.”

The court was told that within minutes of befriending the ‘girl’ online he had initiated sexualised chat. UK Database published details of the conversations and the arrest of Parker on its Facebook site.

It was clear to Parker from the outset that the person he believed he was talking to was just 13, the court was told. But this did not stop him arranging to meet her for sex in Exeter.

Following his release from prison Parker will be subject to licence and supervision conditions. He was given a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for 10 years and must sign the Sex Offender Register.

After the sentencing, an NSPCC spokesperson for South West England said: “Parker’s shocking behaviour highlights the dangers posed to youngsters by offenders online. He fully believed he was speaking to a 13-year-old girl via social media, but continued to groom her before attempting to meet her.