May 2018

Man sentenced after being caught by ‘paedophile hunters’

A Wisbech man who admitted two charges of grooming a child following a paedophile ‘sting’ has been sentenced by a Peterborough court.

The man groomed who he believed to be two young girls but in reality they turned out to be a group of vigilante style paedophile hunters.

The group turned up at the Burcroft Road home of Justin Gotsell, 44, at 11pm on November 28 last year and confronted him with text messages and proof of exchanges between him and the two girls.

The paedophile hunter group live streamed the confrontation with Gotsell on social media and a video of the moments they challenged him was viewed more than 30,000 times.

Gotsell pleaded guilty to two charges of grooming a child under the age of 13 at Peterborough Magistrates’ Court earlier this month.

Yesterday (Monday, May 21) at the same court he was made subject of a Rehabilitation Activity Requirement (RAR) for 35 days, a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) for five years and a collection order.

He has also been placed on the Sex Offenders Register for five years and ordered to pay a total of £270 in fines and costs.

Police say they got involved following a report from an Online Child Sexual Abuse Activist Group (OCAG) “more commonly known as ‘paedophile hunters’”.

Two girls, aged 12 and 14, were contacted by Gotsell through social media sites, but what he didn’t know is that these ‘girls’ were decoys set up by the activist group.

In the conversations, despite the ‘girls’ telling Gotsell their ages, he told them he fancied them and mentioned meeting somewhere where no one could see them, knowing it was wrong as he told the girls not to tell anyone.

On November 28 the ‘hunters’ confronted Gotsell and told him the girls he had been messaging were decoys and not real people. Police were called and Gotsell was arrested.