Pervert snared FOUR times by Child Online Safety Group (COST) vigilante group

A PERVERT who was caught sending sexualised messages to four different ‘decoy young girls has been given the opportunity to address his deviant behaviour.

Gary Hutchinson was snared by members of the online paedophile hunting group Child Online Safety Team sending sexually explicit messages and a pornographic video to the ‘young girls’.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the 39-year-old arranged to meet up with one of the girls at a supermarket in Middlesbrough but cancelled before going through with the plan.

Philip Morley, prosecuting, said the offences took place over a short period of time from December 15, 2018 until January 6 the following year.

The court heard how he sent one of the decoy’s a video of adult pornography while offering to teach others how to kiss and told him loved them whilst lying about his own age.

Mr Morley said all of his targets told him quite clearly how old they were but that didn’t deter him from continuing with the sexually explicit messages from his Facebook account.

“The defendant was traced by the vigilante online group; police were called and the defendant was arrested. During police interview he said he had been adding people on Facebook because it was a nice thing to do,” he added.

“He accepted that he had talked about meeting up with one of them but said he would never have through with it.”

Hutchinson, of Fifth Street, Blackhall Colliery, pleaded guilty to three charges of attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child, one of attempt to cause a child to watch sexual activity and a further charge of attempt to meet a child under 16 with sexual intent.

Andrew Turton, mitigating, said his client was a vulnerable adult but that was not an excuse for his behaviour.

He said: “He is a man clearly suffering from learning difficulties and has vulnerabilities as in individual in his own right.”

Judge Stephen Ashurst told Hutchinson he was only facing the attempt charges because his targets were in fact adults.

He said: “The mischief that they aim their investigations at is to deter people like you from contacting real children and putting them at risk.”

The judge told the defendant that the fact he had committed no further offences in the two years since his arrest meant he was able to pass a non-custodial sentence.

He was given a two year community order with 35 rehabilitation activity requirement days to address his behaviour.

The Northern Echo | Teesside