March 2019

Pervert sends sick messages to ‘girl’ – but finds out it’s someone very different

A paedophile who thought he was making lurid suggestions to a 12-year-old girl was actually talking online to an undercover police officer.

Anthony Press, 37, was already under investigation for doing the same thing to another “decoy” when he took part in the online chats for 15 days from June 13 last year.

Stephen Robinson, prosecuting, told Hull Crown Court the officer had created a profile for a fictitious 12-year-old called “Emma”, who used the online name “Yorkshirelass123”.

Press, whose online identity was “Anthony1981”, initiated the contact and asked the girl: “Can I get your pants down, honey?”

The “girl” stated her age, but Press continued making a variety of other more extreme sexual comments, also suggesting they meet “on Friday or Saturday”.

Press gave the girl his mobile phone number, which revealed his links to a care centre where he had “sought some assistance”, and also showed it had been used close to his home in Trippet Street, city centre.

Police duly paid him a visit there on July 9 and arrested him.

Mr Robinson said while Press believed he was in conversation with a 12-year-old girl, “in fact it was an undercover police officer”.

That brought an end to his offending, following his similar encounter with “Chantelle Manchester” in January, who was really a member of the paedophile hunting group Northern Justice posing as a girl aged 13.

Mr Robinson said of the group: “They appear to take a fairly serious interest in their hobby.”

The group followed a practice of creating a decoy profile and ensuring first contact is made by the suspect. They then respond with answers “designed to be as innocent or naive as possible”, while regularly stating their age.

“Chantelle” was lying in wait for Press on the chat site Nearby, and he first contacted her at 3am on January 18.

Press requested a meeting in Manchester, where she purported to be from, and said he “would ring when he arrived”. But he failed to turn up, saying he was “unwell”.

The girl’s number was later found on a piece of paper in Press’s flat, the court heard.

Press also made explicit comments about what he would like to do to the girl, and also said he would like to watch her urinate.

Northern Justice passed Press’s information to a similar Hull-based group called Team Hunters.

A decoy from another team called ‘Net Justice’ was also contacted by Press

Mr Robinson said the Hull group would normally confront people like Press and stream it live on Facebook, but after learning he had cerebral palsy decided instead to pass his details to police, which the prosecutor said was “a more responsible attitude”.

Press was arrested for that offence in a taxi close to his home at 1.30pm on January 21.

He initially denied any wrongdoing but later admitted two offences of attempted sexual communication with a child. He had no previous convictions.

Recorder Simon Eckersley told Press his behaviour was “disgraceful”, and sentenced him to 18 months in jail, suspended for two years.

He was ordered to attend a sex offenders treatment programme for 90 days and have 15 days of rehabilitation.

Press was also made subject to a sexual harm prevention order for ten years and must register as a sex offender for the same period.