Predator Neil Grant travelled to meet a police officer posing as an underage girl. The 53-year-old – described as ‘vulnerable’ – met what he initially believed to be an 18-year-old woman online.
Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard he continued to contact the ‘girl’ despite her saying she was axtually aged 13. However, he had in fact been communicating with a copper.
Now the defendant, of Clowes Road, Bucknall, has been handed a suspended sentence.
Sentencing Clowes, Judge Graeme Smith said: “The offending itself fell into two categories. Your communication with somebody you believed to be a 13-year-old girl in 2021.
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“You initiated that contact when her age was given as 18. But you continued when she told you her real age. You requested photos of her.
“You arranged to meet her and travelled to do so. There was no person aged 13. She was a decoy.”
The court heard Clowes was also caught distributing an indecent images of a 14-year-old girl. He went on to plead guilty to that offence, as well as attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child.
Judge Smith added: “You are someone who it’s clear lacks social skills. You are shy and have low self-esteem. You may have learning difficulties.
“You had a stroke last year and that has had an impact on your mental and physical health. You have no previous convictions.
“You are a low risk of re-offending. You are remorseful.”
Grant was sentenced to 24 months in custody, suspended for two years, with a rehabilitation activity requirement for 30 days and 160 hours unpaid work.
He was also made the subject of a 10-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO).
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