March 2019

Man posted ad offering free accommodation in expectation of sexual favours – and agreed to meet ’15-year-old girl’

A ‘sad and lonely man’ who put an advert online offering rent free accommodation with the expectation of sexual favours in return agreed to meet a ’15-year-old girl’ who replied, a court heard.

Jeffrey Millar, 55, from Harpurhey, narrowly avoided jail after admitting an offence of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

Manchester Crown Court heard the ‘girl’ was in fact a man who responded to the advert posing as a child.

After looking into the advert, posted on classifieds website Craigslist, the man, not thought to be connected to a paedophile hunters group, discovered had been posted by Millar.

He found a Facebook profile under the name of Jeffrey Millar, in which the user claimed to be a coordinator on the Duke of Edinburgh scheme, the court was told.

After becoming concerned, the man decided to reply to the advert posing as a 15-year-old girl, prosecutor Gavin Howie said.

The advert, posted by Millar in July 2017, read: “Offering to share my flat with a female; race, size does not matter.

“Flat is located 10 mins from Manchester city centre, on major bus and train routes.

“Flat consists of bedroom, living room, kitchen, bathroom with sink, bath and electric shower.

“You will live with me rent and bill free.

“We can come to an arrangement that will be mutual and beneficial to us both as to your payment for staying in the flat.”

The ‘girl’ replied saying she had been ‘kicked out’ of her family home and that she was ‘desperate’ for somewhere to live.

Sexually explicit chats followed, which were said to have been initiated by the ‘girl’. No pictures were exchanged.

Millar suggested they meet the following day at 10am in Harpurhey, near the Embassy club, but the ‘girl’ did not arrive.

The man reported Millar, and he was arrested at his home in November.

Sentencing, Judge Hilary Manley said there was an expectation by Millar of ‘some sort of sexual favours in return’ for rent free accommodation.

“A male responded purporting to be a 15-year-old girl that, as far as you were concerned, was 15,” the judge added.

“You should not have responded in the way you did.

“You agreed to meet her, which is the most disturbing aspect of this case.

“This is a very serious offence, it crosses the custody threshold.

“On the face of it this girl was vulnerable, and there was an element of grooming.”

The judge said the public would be best protected by Millar completing a program for sexual offenders.

Millar, of Beech Mount, Harpurhey, was sentenced to a three year community order, and must complete the Horizon programme.

A sexual harm prevention order was also imposed for 10 years.