PUBLISHED: 08:39 03 July 2018
Norwich Crown Court. Picture Adrian Judd.
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A man was snared by paedophile hunters while trying to meet a child at Great Yarmouth Library, a court heard.
Kevin Ward, 51, of no fixed abode, was caught in a sting by members of a paedophile hunter group posing as children on internet chat rooms to catch out offenders, Norwich Crown Court heard.
Duncan O’Donnell, prosecuting, said Ward was in contact with six girls he believed to be aged between 11 and 14, but who were in fact adult decoys posing as children with a fake profile.
He said in all the cases Ward had quickly started to chat about sex, asking one girl for a naked photo.
Mr O’Donnell said Ward was caught after arranging to meet up with what he believed was a 14-year-old girl at Great Yarmouth Library in October last year, but instead was confronted by members of the group, who recognised him from his Facebook profile.
Ward admitted attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity and attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child.
Judge Stephen Holt told Ward that he had been communicating with what he thought were young girls and making it plain he wanted sex.
However he said in all the cases they were not real children but adult decoys and no actual child had been harmed.
Judge Holt jailed Ward for 18 months and placed him on the sex offenders’ register for 10 years. He also made him subject to a sexual harm prevention order.
Ian James, for Ward, said he had difficulties and was of very low intellect with no previous convictions.
Mr James said Ward planned to move away from the area on his release because of the publicity surrounding his arrest.
Afterwards a woman decoy for Net Justice, who was in court for the sentencing, said she was disappointed he did not get a longer term but said at least Ward had been exposed: “It has put him on the radar. You want your children to go on the internet and be safe.”
She said keeping children safe was the aim of the group and said: “We do it because of the kids.”
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