June 2018

Clacton driving instructor drove more than 40 miles to meet teen he groomed online

A Clacton driving instructor drove more than 40 miles from his home to meet a teenager he had groomed online.

Robert Young, 53, of Stanmore Close, was on his way to meet with who he believed was a 15-year-old boy at the Tesco Superstore in Great Dunmow after arranging the meeting via gay dating app Grindr.

But the 15-year-old was in fact a decoy account set up by vigilante group CSE Interceptors, a team whose main goal is to catch paedophiles and bring them to justice.

Young was brought to Essex Police’s attention on May 26, 2017 while on his way to the meeting spot at Tesco as he began questioning the true identity of the ’15-year-old boy’.

Concerned that this could be a set-up, Young drove away from the scene but was picked up by police officers and arrested.

Richard Kelly, prosecuting Young’s sentencing hearing at Chelmsford Crown Court on Friday (June 8), said: “It takes a turn when the defendant begins to think that this might be a hoax in the middle of a conversation when they were about to meet.

“The decoy makes a call to the police saying he is at the Tesco store in Dunmow.

“The conversation was getting the defendant to wait in a particular point – he then comes to the view that this is a hoax and drives away but is picked up by the police a short distance away.”

A subsequent investigation revealed that Young had contacted a user by the name of ‘Bored Teenager’ – the decoy account – on May 25, the day before his arrest.

The decoy repeatedly told Young he was speaking to a 15-year-old, where Young remarkably admits knowing the trouble he would be if he was caught meeting with the ‘boy’.

In interview, he told police he thought it could be an adult on the “wind-up” and was curious to find out who it was.

But further examination of his phone revealed the true nature of his offending.

Young on several occasions had engaged in sexual communication with who he believed were boys under the age of 16.

Police found that an explicit photo was sent to Young on January 12, 2017 after reading comments from Young describing the photo.

In that series of messages, Young had asked the boy to meet him at his house or car, but no meeting ever took place.

Further conversations on Grindr showed a series of messages from Young describing his sick fantasies.

In one message sent in April 2017, Young said: “I would like you in school uniform with panties and stockings coming to my hotel room.”

Young, who turned 53 last Saturday (June 2), was represented by Peter Barlex.

Mitigating on his behalf, Mr Barlex said: “He is in no doubt at how serious these offences are regarded.

“He has curbed his behaviour. There are steps he is taking to address this issue like removing the app on his phone.

“He no longer has his instructors driving licence and will not be able to gain employment in that sector again.

“He wants to relocate out of Essex.”

Judge Patricia Lynch sentenced Young to a period of imprisonment for four months, concurrent on three counts.

In her sentencing remarks, she said: “These are very serious offences because you thought you were communicating and making arrangements with children and adults who communicate with children in the way you thought you were face serious consequences in these courts.

“But I take into account there was no actual victim and no actual meeting – the prosecution cannot prove that they were children you were communicating with.”

Young was also served with a sexual harm prevention order which will run for five years.

Read the full indictment here:

Count One: Attempt to meet a boy under the age of 16 (January 12) – four months

Count Two: Attempt to engage in sexual communication (April 17) – four months

Count Three: Attempt to arrange meeting with a child under the age of 16 he was grooming online – four months

All counts to run concurrently.