May 2018

‘Obsessed’ paedophile jailed

A BRADFORD man with an “unhealthy obsession with young girls” assaulted two children before being snared online by paedophile hunters.

Matthew Whittaker, 27, of Bracken Edge, Thorpe Edge, has been jailed for four and a half years after he groped two children, before contacting who he believed to be three 13-year-old girls online.

However, the three accounts were actually being run by vigilante group Predator Exposure.

At Bradford Crown Court, the bearded and bespectacled Whittaker was sentenced on eight counts and made subject to a sexual harm prevention order.

Judge David Hatton QC told Whittaker he had been convicted on “overwhelming evidence” of four counts of sexual activity with a child, one count of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, and three counts of attempting to engage a child in sexual activity.

He also said Whittaker would “get angry” if they did not comply with his “desires.”

The court was told how Whittaker had assaulted the children numerous times.

When messaging who he believed to be children online, Whittaker had asked the users for the size of their breasts, details of their underwear, asked them to send him photographs of themselves, and also sent an explicit photo of himself to one account.

Judge Hatton said: “I do not believe you have any concept of the effects that such conduct can have on a young child and young minds, and the effects in this case have been considerable.”

He continued: “You have an unhealthy obsession with young girls. The people [online] did not exist, but the importance of those three offences is they demonstrate an indiscriminate urge to communicate in obscene ways with young girls for your own sexual gratification.

“The sexual harm prevention order I have made will go a long way to prevent any repetition of your unacceptable behaviour.

“There was a significant disparity in the age between you and the people you believed you were communicating with, and it was a style of grooming.”

Members of the Predator Exposure group were present in court, with one member waving to Whittaker as he was led out of court by two security guards.