February 2019

Pensioner who thought he was messaging underage boy caught by ‘paedophile hunter’

A pervert found himself in the dock after being caught out by a so-called paedophile hunter.

  1. Brian Thearle, 69, of Flitcroft Gardens, Lake, admitted attempting to meet up with an underage boy following grooming and appeared at Isle of Wight Crown Court today (Friday) for sentencing.

He had been messaging what he thought was a boy aged 14 and had made suggestions about taking the boy back to his address for sex, the court heard.

He also sent a sexually explicit photograph to the ‘boy’, but claimed it was not of himself.

The messaging took place over three days.

On the day they were due to meet, the ‘boy’ said he was actually only 13, but Thearle said that was okay.

When Thearle arrived to meet the boy, he was met with a man, who had been posing as the boy over messages, and who then performed a citizen’s arrest and called the police.

For Thearle, Elisabeth Bussey-Jones said her client had no previous convictions and pointed out that no real child was ever put at risk.

She said the messages were prompting and said that this was the nature of prosecutions set up by ‘paedophile hunters’.

Sentencing, Judge Roger Hetherington, said: “You went along with the messaging and thought it was all real.

“There is a risk you present by committing this offence, so it is necessary to protect real children.”

Thearle was made subject to a sexual harm prevention order indefinitely.

He was sentenced to a three year community order and will have to attend up to 30 days rehabilitation and a sex offenders course.

He will also have to pay £435 court costs.