September 2018

“Vile”online pervert snared by vigilant parents of young girl is freed despite being ‘high risk to children’

An online creep who was was twice snared by vigilant parents of a young girl he tried to groom online is back on the streets despite being branded a high risk to children.

Joshua Boulton made contact with a 13-year-old girl on the internet, sending her flattering messages, but she told her mum.

In order to gather evidence against Boulton, the mum then continued the conversation, posing as her daughter.

Despite thinking he was speaking to someone of such a tender age, he soon turned the conversation to sex, sent pictures of his penis, asked for pictures of her, asked if he could touch her sexually, told her not to tell her parents and arranged to meet up.

Once they had enough evidence, the parents of the girl informed the police and Boulton was arrested.

But after he refused to answer questions, the matter was “postponed for a charging decision to be made” and he was freed without even being put on bail.

However the parents – angered by the decision to let him go without charge – decided to monitor him themselves and were alarmed to see he was still apparently in contact with children, a court heard.

They set up a fake profile purporting to be a 15-year-old girl – and he soon started trying to engage her in sex chat, sent pictures of his penis, asked for pictures of her breasts and spoke about meeting up for sex.

After the police were presented with the new evidence, finally, Boulton was charged and went on to admit attempting to meet a child following grooming and attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child.

But now the 22-year-old, of Silver Lonnen, Fenham, Newcastle, has been freed again on a community order after a judge said he would get more help for longer by taking the “exceptional course”.

The girl’s dad told Newcastle Crown Court of the impact the offending has had on his daughter and the wider family.

He said in a statement: “This has turned our lives upside down.

“The feeling that first went through my head was disgust.

“My daughter is still a child, she still has cuddly toys. It’s not forgivable.

“Knowing what he did made my wife physically sick especially after sending pictures of his erect penis. This is not acceptable in any way.

“Why should my family suffer this perverted action?”

Referring to the decision not to charge Boulton after the first offence, the dad added: “The fact he was initially released without charge angered me. How could someone be left to walk the streets who is a danger to children?”

He said his daughter has been left scared to go out and has asked whether Boulton might be wherever they are.

He added: “Maybe I could have went and given him a good beating but because I wanted justice carried out, I stopped myself doing this.”

The dad described the “hatred” he had for “this scum” who he said was a “risk to children” and expressed concern that he may have contacted other youngsters.

He continued: “He wanted to meet my daughter and take her to a riverside location to kiss, cuddle and more. This is sick.”

The first offence happened in October last year when Boulton, using a profile on Instagram linked to Facebook, made contact with the 13-year-old.

He asked how old she was and told her she was “beautiful and gorgeous”.

She refused to say where she lived or to move the conversation onto Snapchat for what she described as “safety reasons”.

Julie Clemitson, prosecuting, said: “She told her mother he was sending messages and her mother took over the conversation without the defendant realising and the conversation continued in a sexual way.

“He said he wanted to kiss her and asked her to send pictures of herself.”

The girl’s parents decided to prolong the conversation in order to gather more evidence against Boulton.

An arrangement to meet was made and he told what he thought was the child not to tell her parents as he “could get arrested”.

He sent pictures of his penis and asked if he could touch her sexually when they met.

He was arrested at that stage but was freed while a decision was made about whether he would be charged.

Miss Clemitson said: “[The mum] was so concerned about what she could see still going on with his profile, because he still seemed to be in contact with children, including girls from her child’s school, she created her own profile.”

In May this year, using the profile, she liked a picture Boulton had left on Instagram and communication began.

He was told she was 15 and he asked if she was a virgin, sent pictures of his penis, asked for intimate pictures of her, asked to meet, spoke about wanting to kiss her and asked if she wanted to have sex with him.

Boulton was given a three-year community order, a sexual harm prevention order for five years, an indefinite restraining order and must sign the sex offenders’ register.

Recorder Eric Elliott QC told him: “The really serious aspect is, notwithstanding that [first] investigation, you persisted with your conduct.

“You showed a determination to go ahead with your vile conduct.”

The judge added: “The pre-sentence report says you remain a high risk to children.

“The issue for me to decide is how best can this risk be controlled.

“I’ve no doubt [the parents] think you should be locked up for a long time.

“I’m going to take what might be regarded as an exceptional course and not impose a custodial sentence.”

Recorder Elliott said the community order would mean he could be helped and monitored for three years, whereas if he imposed a suspended sentence the maximum period would be two years.