Predatory paedophile, 21, jailed for attempting to meet girl aged nine for sex
A 21-year-old has been labelled a “persistent, predatory and exploitative paedophile” and jailed after attempting to meet a girl aged nine for sex in a Somerset hotel.
A court heard Scott Horsburgh from Radstock was caught in a sting by an uncover policeman who posed as the girl’s dad on an online chatroom for children.
It was Horsburgh’s first criminal conviction despite extensive evidence that he posed a danger to children, Bristol Crown Court heard.
Between 2013-2015 he received police cautions for crimes including inciting children under 13 years of age to engage in sexual activity.
Horsburgh admitted two charges when he appeared in court on Wednesday, May 15.
These were arranging or facilitating the commission of a child sex offence and breaching a sexual harm prevention order, both of which were committed between April 9-17 2019.
The court heard he falsely claimed he was 15 in a profile with the username Boy For All on the chatroom on April 9.
He unwittingly contacted the undercover officer who was using a profile called Pre Teen Lover UK which had an avatar of a young girl in school uniform as its display picture.
Prosecuting counsel Chloe Griggs said: “This defendant’s profile stated that he was 15 years old and his user information said ‘Girls and mums any age’.
“Mr Horsburgh initiates the contact and writes ‘Hey, do you f*** your daughter?'”
The undercover officer said his daughter was aged nine and Horsburgh told him “how he would like to sexually abuse” the girl, Ms Griggs said.
The conversation continued the next day.
Ms Griggs said: “The defendant writes ‘Can she wear short skirts or shorts for me? I want her to call me big daddy or uncle’.”
On April 15 the undercover policeman and Horsburgh arrange to meet in the car park of Co-op in Radstock and Horsburgh asked the officer to bring his daughter along, the court heard.
The officer then suggests meeting at the Centurion Hotel in Charlton Lane, Midsomer Norton and Horsburgh gave him his mobile phone number.
On April 17 the officer told Horsburgh that he was in room six of the hotel with the imaginary girl.
“He writes ‘When I’m outside your door I will let you know and she can open it’,” Ms Griggs said.
As Horsburgh approached the hotel reception, he was escorted away and arrested, she said.
The court heard he had no previous convictions. However, he had multiple police cautions for sexual offences committed since December 2012 – when he was aged just 15.
The cautions led to Horsburgh being taken into local authority care and removed from his natural family.
Ms Griggs also said he had “sexual discussions” on a website called Chat Hour for children aged 6-14 after creating another fake profile.
She said on June 1 2016 “a foster carer raised concerns with the police that this defendant was still talking to children openly”.
She requested that the judge made Horsburgh subject to a further sexual harm prevention order which his defence counsel Caighli Taylor raised no objections to.
Miss Taylor told the court: “He’s fully cognisant with the seriousness of the offences and the concerns the court will have about the risk he possesses and the inevitability of custody.
“One of the more significant strands of his mitigation is his guilty plea and his tendency to accept responsibility and accept his offending history.
“He has a complex background – abuse suffered at a young age, into the care system aged 16, cut off from his family at that point.
“Without going into detail it’s plain to see that it’s not been easy for him.
“In the last few years he had been engaging with social services in relation to work around his offending behaviour.
“There will be many features of the report that reveal concern, not least that he’s had a lot of help and gone onto commit these offences.”
She added: “His regret is acknowledged to be genuine and [so] is his motivation to change.
“He fully intends to take every opportunity he’s given to receive help in prison and work as hard as he can [on] his rehabilitation.
“His offending history is serious.
“The most serious cautions relate to when he was 16, not long after he was a victim of abuse himself.
“[Because he’s only 21] there’s still the capacity for change.”
‘Persistent, predatory and exploitative paedophile’
Addressing Horsburgh, the judge His Honour Judge Horton said: “You’re only now still 21 years of age and you have already shown overwhelmingly that you’re a persistent, predatory and exploitative paedophile who uses social media as a weapon against children.
“And you resisted any steps that society has taken to curb your offending which has included putting you on a course with a view to allowing you to gain information [and] develop strategies for yourself to avoid committing offences.
“In 2013 as a juvenile you were warned for an offence of exposure.
“In 2014 … you were cautioned for three offences in relation to inciting children under 13 years of age to engage in sexual activity.
“In 2015 arising out of some extremely serious and dangerous circumstances, a standalone application was made which led to a sexual harm prevention order being made against you at Bristol Magistrates’ Court.
“You then appeared in June 2018 for two breaches of that order in relation to your use of computer equipment.
“You were being monitored. You were placed in accommodation which was aimed … to support and to watch that you were behaving properly.
“On April 9 you used your skill with determination and sophistication I liken with those who use social media as a weapon against children to create a false web of information and to gain access to websites which are created for children but which have become a magnet for paedophiles like you.”
Judge Horton said his “conversation from the very outset was a squalid sexual description of what you were seeking” from “a man you assumed to be the father of a nine-year-old daughter who was going to allow you to commit a series of offences”.
“You discussed and arranged meticulously with him what you were going to do and where you were going to do it,” the judge said.
He added: “It’s my consideration … that you were seeking to have conversation on Chat Hour and Kids’ Chat, seeking to have conversations with kids between the ages of 6-14 which were sexual [conversations].
“You have admitted that you are sexually attracted to young girls but it’s clear [you are attracted to] young boys as well.
“You had to previously be removed from a home due to your sexual behaviour to two young children in that household.”
The judge said the abuse Horsburgh received as a child led to his sexual interest in children.
He continued: “Analysis by the probation services confirmed my preliminary description of your behaviour which has really commenced in a young age and continued and persisted no matter what help has been provided.
“There’s every single suggestion that you’re deeply engaged and determined as a paedophile who will have to be watched at all times.”
The judge said the offences involved “significant planning”, acting with another person to commission them, the perceived age of the victim (nine) and that Horsburgh lied about his own age.
He said the defendant’s previous record and his failure to comply with an existing sexual harm prevention order were aggravating factors.
“You’re still only 21.
“It’s important to respect that you have not only pleaded guilty at the first instance but that you have admitted the offences when they have been put to you.
“And wherever you have been interviewed about these matters you have been prepared to discuss them.
“It’s no doubt for that reason that rather than being formally prosecuted as you could have been the court administered cautions … believing that assisting you would result in these matters ceasing.
“That has not been the case.”
Horsburgh was given a total of four years and three months in jail for the two crimes.
The judge told him: “You will serve half of that sentence before you’re released.
“You will then be on licence for the remainder of that term.”
The conditions of his release on licence will be that he attends specific courses and stays at certain addresses.
The judge continued: “Because of these offences you will be placed on a barring list preventing you from ever working with the young, vulnerable or elderly.
“You will be placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register for life.
“When you’re released you will be required to notify the local policy where you are.”