June 2018

Pervert who was caught by paedophile hunters after arranging to meet a ’14-year-old girl’

A 31-year-old man who made arrangements to meet an under-age schoolgirl for sex in a hotel has been jailed for 16 months after being trapped by paedophile hunters.

Gareth Ward, of London Row, Newton-le-Willows, appeared at Liverpool Crown Court today, after he was caught having what he thought was on-line chats with a 14-year-old girl.

However she did not exist and he was actually talking with a member of the Decoy Central group, a group of paedophile hunters.

Judge Clement Goldstone, QC, pointed out that he asked her to stop mentioning her age “not because you felt guilty but because it made you feel old.”

He arranged to meet her at the hotel and booked a double room for them in a hotel in Stoke-on-Trent on April 14 but the police were told about the plan and arrested him before he got the train.

His overnight bag included a charm bracelet for her, a boxed sex toy, condoms, a camera and a pair of girls’ knickers.

Despite having a previous conviction for sexual activity with a 15-year-old girl and making indecent photographs of children the court was told that a psychologist believed he “was not attracted sexually to under age girls”.

Judge Goldstone disagreed with her finding, adding: “It is naive in the extreme to hold and express such a view when it is clear you do.”

When nabbed by police Ward denied that he had actually intended having sex with the girl but the judge said that despite his mental health difficulties he had planned the meeting and intended to carry it out. He had intended to have oral sex if not full sex with her, said the judge.

Ward has also been ordered to sign the Sex Offenders Register for ten years and he also imposed a Sexual Behaviour Order for the same length of time.

His barrister, Martyn Walsh, had urged the judge not to jail him and instead get help for his problem but the judge pointed out that he had failed to take advantage of help offered to him while serving 12 months for his previous sex offences imposed in 2011.

Claire Jones, prosecuting, told the court that Ward got in touch with the imaginary girl on Fastmeet via the internet in February and they had repeated chats, including using WhatsApp where he asked he “Are you tallish with big boobs? Are you good at kissing with tongues?”