March 2018

Birmingham teacher snared by ‘paedophile hunters’

A teacher has been given a two year suspended prison sentence after trying to meet who he thought was a underage girl for sex.

Newport Crown Court heard Rajesh Lama, 48, from Birmingham, sent sexually explicit photos of himself to the “teen” – who was actually a member of a so-called “paedophile hunters” group.

Baby oil, condoms and alcohol were later found in his Newport hotel room.

Lama pleaded guilty to six sexual offences.

Judge Thomas Mervyn Hughes said: “You have been a member of the teaching profession for some 10 years… but the prosecution has made it clear there is no connection between that and this offence.”

The court heard Lama was a science teacher at a girls school – Hodge Hill School in Birmingham.

He was caught when an online group called “Petronus” created a fake posing as a 14 year-old-girl in chat rooms.

The account lay dormant until it was contacted by someone who called himself “Jaz Singh” – who later turned out to be the defendant.

Prosecuting, David Pugh said online chats between “Sam” and “Jaz Singh” continued daily for more than a fortnight in May 2017.

Mr Pugh said: “Sam immediately said she was 14 years of age, but the defendant continued nevertheless, saying he was 25, when he was in fact 47 at the time.

“He said he took photographs of women in lingerie… he also repeatedly asked photos of a provocative nature with her in her school uniform.”

The court heard how Lama later booked a room at the Waterloo Hotel in Newport as well as offering to pay the “teen” £100.

Mr Pugh added: “The defendant turned up at the Waterloo Hotel… he was contacted to ask to meet ‘Sam’ in the car park, where he was detained by another member of the paedophile hunting group.”

The court heard Lama initially told police “I knew was it was wrong”.

He later gave “no comment” interviews and also refused to give officers the password to his mobile phone.

The defendant pleaded guilty to six sexual offences, including attempting sexual communication with a child and three counts of attempting to engage a child in sexual activity.

Lama was given an 18 month sentence suspended for two years.

He was also ordered to enrol in a sexual offender rehabilitation programme for 15 days, complete 180 hours of unpaid work and report his address to police for the next 10 years.