March 2019

Scout leader who ‘chatted to boy for sex’ caught in paedophile hunter sting

A Scout leader has been jailed for attempting to meet a “14-year-old boy” for sex.

Matthew Thomson, 36, of Littleham Close, Bransholme, pleaded guilty to searching for indecent images of young boys on the internet, as well as grooming what he thought was a 14-year-old named David on homosexual dating app Grindr.

However, “David” was actually a fake profile created by a paedophile hunting group Keeping Our Kids Safe.

A hearing at Hull Crown Court heard that after “David” told Thomson he was just 14, the conversation continued and Thomson attempted to set up a meet for sex.

However, he then realised the profile of “David” was actually fake and so contacted Keeping Our Kids Safe, who then issued an ultimatum.

Judge Roger Thomas QC, sentencing said: “At some point he got wind of the fact this this wasn’t what he thought it was and it was a set up to try to discover people like him.

“He tried to get out of the hole he was in and contacted the group.”

The group eventually gave Thomson an ultimatum and told him that if he did not hand himself over to police, they would release his personal details on their Facebook page.

Thomson – a Beaver Master in charge of young Scouts between the ages of six and eight – met the paedophile hunting group in May last year and they filmed him outside Clough Road Police Station before he handed himself in.

In the video, Thomson admits saying to “David”, after finding out that he was 14, that they could start with “kissing and touching” before going onto a sexual act.

After a police interview, Thomson’s personal computer was recovered and was found to have seven indecent images of Category B, and 16 images in Category C.

However, Thomson told the probation service that he had “no sexual interest in children”.

Prosecuting, Mr Philip Evans told the court the images featured black rectangles, covering the private parts of the children used in the photos which “could be an attempt to confuse the software” used by the IPS and authorities to detect indecent images.

The sentencing hearing also heard that during forensic examination of Thomson’s computer, it was found he had searched terms of indecent images including those of “young gay boys,” “very, very, very young boys”, and worryingly, “Scouts”.

Judge Thomas described Thomson as a “lonely, pathetic individual” who lives with his mother and his brother.

He said: “His use of the internet and what he is interested in, and the fact he was able to get involved with the scouts is disturbing.

“As well as having a job you have been involved with the Scout movement and have been involved with the most junior, the Beavers, who are very young boys, who will move in later years to the Cubs and Scouts.

“When you joined them, maybe it was because you were wishing to give them good service to a good organisation.

“The suspicion may be though that you had some sort of interest in them young boys that was unhealthy, however it cannot be said that you acted anyway untoward.

“The three charges do show an unhealthy interest in sexual activity with a child. You said you had no sexual interest in children, that can’t be right. What brought the police to your door was that you attempted to meet a 14-year-old boy for sex.”

Sentencing to 12 months in jail, as well as to a 10-year sexual harm prevention order, Judge Thomas said: “This is a serious case. This sentence seeks not just to punish you but to send a message that people who access material are at risk of going to prison, and people who commit sexual offences with boys as young as 14 will go to prison.”

Thompson must also sign the Sex Offenders Register for ten years.