June 2018

Sex offender confronted by paedophile hunters on his own doorstep

A paedophile who thought he was sending sexually explicit messages to a 12-year-old girl was in fact communicating with a man in a paedophile hunter group.

Barry Habberley spent weeks chatting on a dating website to what he believed was a young girl, telling her she was beautiful and he loved her, asking her for sex, and asking her to perform sex acts on herself.

He even offered to drive to Yorkshire to meet her.

But Swansea Crown Court heard that ‘Daniella from Barnsley’ was in fact a fake profile created by a man who is part of a group called One Reason.

Helen Randall, prosecuting, said despite ‘Daniella’ repeatedly telling Habberley she was aged 12 the defendant continued to send a series of sexual messages and explicit photographs of himself

During their online conversations the 53-year-old paid her compliments and said he wanted her to be his girlfriend.

He made requests for sex, told her he loved her, and asked whether her periods had started.

Habberley also offered to drive to Yorkshire in his van so they could meet.

The prosecutor said the exchanges lasted for around a month before three members of the group confronted Habberley at his home address and called the police.

Habberley, of Llangyfelach Road, Brynhyfryd, Swansea, had previously pleaded guilty to attempting to incite a girl under 12 to engage in sexual activity when he appeared in the dock for sentencing.

The court heard he had no previous convictions.

John Hipkin, for Habberley, accepted his client’s behaviour had been “beyond all propriety”.

He said his client had always worked up until the last three or four years and that might have been a contributory factor.

Judge Geraint Walters told the defendant that despite what he had claimed in his probation report he must have been deriving some sexual pleasure from the online conversations and there had been an element of grooming to his behaviour.

He said the defendant had been “taken by the moment and the excitement of it all” and had been “unable to see what was there to be seen” – namely that the person he was talking to was obviously not a young girl.

The judge said some vigilante groups operating online “led on” their targets but, having read the contents of the chat logs, that was not the case on his occasion.