September 2018

Man sentenced to nine months in prison for attempting to groom teenage boy online

A pervert who arranged to meet someone he thought was a 14-year-old boy following sexual grooming has been jailed for nine months.

IT project manager Mark Collyer-Watson, from North Yorkshire, is the tenth online sex offender to be sentenced in the Magistrate’s Court after being snared by paedophile hunter Cheyenne O’Connor posing as a child on the gay dating website Grindr.

Collyer-Watson, who was wearing a dark suit and dark blue tie during yesterday’s hearing, admitted a charge of arranging to meet someone he thought was ‘a child of 14’ outside KFC on the Waterfront on 25 July.

As well as the prison term, he was placed on the Sex Offenders Register for five years and banned from being alone with anyone under 16 for the same period of time.

Outlining the case, police legal adviser Sam Morris said that on 24 July the 36-year-old defendant started engaging with the ‘boy’ on Grindr and the conversation soon became sexual.

They arranged to meet the following day, and when Collyer-Watson arrived outside KFC he was arrested.

The court heard that at the time the defendant was visiting Jersey with his mother on a family break, as his father had died a few months earlier. Advocate Sarah Dale, defending, described Collyer-Watson as a ‘loving, supportive son, brother and partner’ whose actions ‘were completely out of character’.

She said that he had no previous record and there was no evidence to suggest that there was any interest in children. The lawyer submitted that her client had not set out to find a child, and pointed out that Grindr was for adults.

‘While children might go on there, he was not looking for someone under 18,’ she said.

The court heard that Collyer-Watson is in a long-term relationship with his partner, who was standing by him.

In sentencing, Relief Magistrate Sarah Fitz said it was accepted that the defendant went onto an adult site and was not targeting youngsters, but she said that children needed to be protected.

Miss O’Connor, who attended the hearing, said afterwards that she was content with the length of sentence imposed.