May 2019

Pervert unmasked by paedo hunters but released without charge is jailed for three years after again messaging ’12-year-old girl’

A father-of-three who avoided jail when he tried to meet young girls for sex has now been sent to prison after being caught messaging children for a second time.  

Paul Spence was detained by volunteers in a citizen’s arrest then arrested by police after he sent explicit WhatsApp messages to an investigator posing as an 11-year-old girl.

But the 47-year-old from New Moston, Manchester, was released under investigation after claiming his messages were a ‘joke’.

The same group, Child Online Safety Team (COST), caught Spence again seven months later when he began communicating with a volunteer pretending to be a 12-year-old girl.

In a series of messages Spence said: ‘Have you ever kissed anybody? I could teach you how to kiss. Do you want me to wash your back? Do you want me to see your breasts.’

Spence first came to the attention of the group in November 2017 when he logged onto the social media network Qeep and began communicating with what he thought was an 11-year old girl.

Prosecutor Jonathan Savage told the court Spence encourage the ‘girl’ to send explicit photos, warned her not to tell anyone and threatened her, saying: ‘If you loved me you’d send pictures.’

Mr Savage said: ‘In the first contact with this person he said: ‘Do you like older men?’ to which she responded: ‘I don’t know I’m only 11.’

‘He said: “You’ve got good t**s for 11”. They switched to WhatsApp and the defendant asked if she wanted him to be her secret boyfriend and said: ‘If you were older you would want me to f*** you.’ 

Mr Savage added: ‘He asked her to send him a picture of herself and suggested whatever was said was deleted. When asked what photographs he wanted he said: ‘your young t**s.’ 

The ‘paedophile hunters’ were unable to locate Spence but the following year he began unwittingly messaging another investigator posing as a girl aged 12. 

During the exchanges he said it was a ‘shame she wasn’t old enough to join him in the bath.’

He also contacted a third decoy through a social media site and asked her to send a picture, telling her she was ‘hot for 14’ and suggested they meet for sex.  

In October last year the group managed to track his location and rang 999 before confronting him at his home where he told them: ‘This is against my rights.’ 

He was taken into custody but released by the police pending investigation.

The group began investigating Spence again in March this year after got in contact with a fourth decoy but he said he had destroyed the sim card on his mobile phone.

He was re-arrested by police and later charged. 

In mitigation for Spence defence lawyer Shirlie Duckworth said Spense acknowledged he had a sexual interest in children of an early age.  

Judge David Stockdale QC told Spence: ‘The ages of the decoy profile girls ranged from 11 – 14 years and it is a feature of the case which even when you knew the matter was under investigation by the police, your attempts to pursue young girls continued.

‘I bear in mind throughout that these were attempts to commit the offences however this was repeated offending over a lengthy period of time.’

Spence was jailed for three years at Manchester Crown Court, after he pleaded guilty to 12 charges including attempts to incite a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity. 

He was also ordered to abide by a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for an indefinite period.