November 2018

Pervert started chatting to underage girls online – they were actually ‘paedophile hunters’

Karthick Sundaram, 28, appeared in court charged with trying to meet a 14-year-old girl for sex in Manchester

A married engineer visiting Manchester on business was caught twice by different ‘paedophile hunter’ groups on the same day.

Karthick Sundaram, 29, is now beginning an 18-month spell behind bars after admitting child sex charges.

A court heard how he has been sacked by pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca and will be deported back to India after serving his sentence.

As part of his role as a ‘solutions engineer’, Sundaram would frequently fly to Britain and Sweden from his home in Chennai.

He arrived in Manchester for a work trip on September 6 and almost immediately began using dating websites from his laptop and phone at the Mercure Hotel in the city centre, prosecutor David Lees told Manchester Crown Court.

The next day, Sundaram began chatting to a girl calling herself ‘Kerry’ on an app called FastMeet.

The profile had been set up by a vigilante group and the profile picture was of a 10-year-old girl, the court heard.

Sundaram began the conversation by chatting ‘Hi, sexy’ and then sent an explicit image of himself, Mr Lees said.

‘Kerry’ replied by saying that she was aged 14.

Sundaram did not question this and turned the conversation sexual, at one point offering to live stream himself performing a sex act, the court heard.

He went on to suggest that they meet and this was arranged for 6pm in Piccadilly Gardens.

The woman running the decoy ‘Kerry’ was not based in the Manchester area, but alerted another member of a vigilante group who was, Mr Lees said.

Sundaram was confronted in Piccadilly Gardens and then arrested by police.

At Longsight police station he claimed he believed ‘Kerry’ was older than 14-years-old.

Mr Lees said news of Sundaram’s arrest was communicated ‘within communities that deal with decoying’ and another group called ‘the Children’s Angels’ recognised him.

The court heard Sundaram had been using the site Meet4u on September 7 when he contacted a decoy posing as a 12-year-old girl called ‘Daisy May’.

Again, Sundaram opened the conversation by chatting ‘Hi sexy’ and then sent an explicit image of himself.

When ‘Daisy May’ said she was only 12, Sundaram replied ‘good’, the court heard.

Sundaram pleaded guilty to charges of attempting to meet a girl aged under 16 after grooming, with the intention of committing a sexual offence in relation to ‘Kerry’, and attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child in relation to ‘Daisy May’.

Appearing via videolink from prison, Sundaram held his hands together in prayer as he awaited the decision of Judge Suzanne Goddard QC.

He was jailed for 18 months in total.

Sundaram will serve half his sentence and then be deported back to India, the court was told.