Predator snared in paedophile hunter sting said age is just a number | #childpredator | #onlinepredator | #sextrafficing

Andrew Carter believed he was chatting with a 13-year-old girl – despite being more than three times her age – and even discussed meeting up for sex after telling her ‘age is just a number’.

But the 42-year-old was in fact communicating with a member of a paedophile hunter group running a sting to snare online child sex offenders.

He was subsequently charged with attempted sexual communications with a child, attempting to incident a child to engage in sexual activity and arranging the commission of a child sex offence.

He appeared before Liverpool Crown Court to be sentenced at this afternoon, Friday, where he was told that the severity of the offences meant that immediate custody was inevitable.

The facts of the case were outlined by prosecutor David Birrell, who said that the offences were committed over the space of a month from September 23 to October 22 last year.

Carter was caught engaging in online conversations with someone he believed to be a 13-year-old girl called Bailey.

The account was however being controlled by an adult woman, purporting to be a child, as part of her role as a volunteer for a paedophile hunter group named Saving Our Children Online.

The defendant and the ‘girl’ had sexualised conversations, during which he encouraged her to perform sex acts on herself and discussed meeting up for intercourse.

Chats began on a social media platform called Wink, before switching to WhatsApp, with the victim’s profile photo being of ‘a child plainly under 18’.

The girl told Carter from the outset that she was 13, but this ‘did not deter’ him as he said: “Age is just a number.”

Messages were exchanged daily, including Carter stating that he ‘might fall in love’ with the girl and that he ‘hoped she would fall in love with him too’.

He said that they would keep their chats ‘secret until she was old enough to marry him’, as well as asking her if she was naked and telling her what sex acts he would like them to share.

Carter also requested photos of her in her underwear and sent sexual pictures and videos of himself.

Andrew Carter was jailed at Liverpool Crown Court

Chats soon turned to meeting up at Warrington Bank Quay railway station, with the defendant stating that he ‘definitely wanted to’ and would give her money.

Carter was located by the hunter group near to his Latchford home, after giving the girl his address, who confronted him on October 22 on a Facebook live video and called the police.

He made partial admissions during his interview, including that he was a ‘loner with no attention from women’, that he had sent the messages to the child and that he knew it was illegal.

He did however state that the arranged meet-up was not for sex and that he did not have a sexual interest in young girls.

In mitigation, the court heard from Simeon Evans, who spoke of Carter having no previous convictions, expressing ‘remorse’ and pleading guilty to all offences.

“The gravity of his offending has hit home and he understands how wrong he was,” the barrister said, stating that his client ‘had a bad start to life’ and did not offend until into his 40s.

He added that Carter has a ‘sad, lonely and pathetic life’ including bouts of homelessness, and that he is ‘terrified’ of a return to that after custody through losing his home and possessions.

But judge Louise Brandon determined that ‘appropriate punishment can only be achieved by way of immediate custody’.

She said: “All of the offences are charged as attempted as the child did not exist, but if there was a real child, the offences would have been committed.

“There was grooming behaviour with a significant disparity in age, with you being 42 and her 13, and sexualised images were sent and solicited by you.

“Your intention was clear, and it involved you inciting serious sexual activity, with you receiving sexual gratification by it.”

Carter, of Poachers Lane in Latchford, was sentenced to 33 months in prison.

He was also made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order and sex offender registration and notification requirements – both for an indefinite period.

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