May 2018

Newport man jailed after being snared by online paedophile hunting group

A man jailed for trying to meet a 13-year-old after grooming her on Facebook Messenger claimed he forgot her age while sending her sexually explicit messages.

Andrew Kay, 47, of Corporation Road, Newport, pleaded guilty to a charge of attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming.

From March 10 to April 8, Kay sent a series of sexually explicit messages to what he thought was a 13-year-old girl he befriended on Facebook.

He did not realise the profile had been set up by online paedophile hunting group Justice for Kids.

He arranged to meet the girl at Newport railway station on March 28, but did not go.

Justice for Kids’ evidence was given to another such group, whose members went to Kay’s workplace in Rogerstone, on April 2 with a police officer who arrested him.

Prosecuting, John Warren told Newport Crown Court: “The bio of this fictional child clearly said she was 13-years-old, and it said she was joining Facebook to make friends.

“The pictures were of a girl aged 13-14. They were real pictures but used with consent. The defendant made a friend request to the profile in March, which was accepted.

“First, the defendant sent her a wave and asked her how she was today. The profile replied that she was 13-years-old. The defendant then told her he was 46, and asked if that was OK.”

Kay soon engaged the ‘girl’ in explicit sexual conversation and admitted to police that he sent the messages, claiming he forgot her age.

He had earlier pleaded guilty to attempting to meet a child following grooming.

Recorder Mark Powell QC told Kay: “I anticipate that if you had been represented it would have been said in mitigation that you didn’t actually turn up to meet the girl, and you didn’t lie to her about your age.

“You also pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and there was no exchange of sexual images.

“You have also told me that you forgot the age of the girl, or that you might have confused her for American friends.

“I don’t accept that I’m afraid. It is apparent you were in this for sexual gratification and that you knew full well the girl was 13.”

Kay was jailed for one year, and made subject to a 10-year sexual harm prevention order.