November 2018

Married Crewe man snared by ‘paedophile hunters’ outside Nando’s is jailed

A man who was snared by online paedophile hunters outside a Crewe restaurant has been jailed.

Ninad Joshi, 35, of Wistaston Road in Crewe, appeared at Chester Crown Court to be sentenced after admitting one count of attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child.

He was jailed for six months and made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order for the next 10 years.

Joshi, an Indian national, was working as a sub-contractor for Bentley and had a working visa which was due to expire at the end of October, after which he planned to return to India.

But Chester Crown Court heard that Joshi had used the online messaging app Oasis and began talking to someone who purported to be a 14-year-old girl, but was actually a persona crafted by the Merseyside Online Child Protection Service – a group that actively seeks to expose people using the internet to find children for gratification.

Prosecutor Mandy Nepal said that Joshi began talking with the ‘girl’ on September 26 this year and after a while, asked to move their conversation from Oasis to the WhatsApp messaging app.

But as their conversations continued, the defendant indicated that he would like to meet her and sent her explicit pictures of himself as well as a pornographic video.

However Ms Nepal conceded that Joshi only expressed a desire to meet up with the ‘girl’ and that no plans were actually made.

They continued talking and Joshi continued to make comments to the girl such as asking if she would like to be his girlfriend and calling her beautiful, until their conversations ended on October 5.

Eventually Joshi was contacted by another decoy account set up by a different hunting group – Standing Together As One – who used the persona of a 29-year-old woman to contact Joshi.

They began to exchange messages of a sexual nature and arranged to meet up in Crewe.

But Joshi was confronted by the paedophile hunters outside Nando’s in Crewe as he went to meet the 29-year-old ‘woman’, and accepted when they questioned him that he had also been talking with a girl that he believed to be 14.

The police were called and Joshi was arrested and interviewed, during which he admitted talking with a girl he believed to be 14, that the language became sexualised and that he sent her explicit pictures.

Judge Thompson said: “It is beyond me why a 35-year-old man, particularly one who is married and working, would think it is appropriate to seek out what he thinks is a 14-year-old girl.

“Children must be protected from men like you, who engage in this sort of activity.

“The message has to go out to others such as you who think it is appropriate that when they are caught, they must expect an immediate custodial sentence.

“And only an immediate custodial sentence could be justified. The protection of children is paramount in my mind.”