An “isolated and lonely” paedophile was caught out after trying to meet up with a 13-year-old girl.
Robert Twaites, 33, began talking to a member of an online protection group posing as a young teenager called “Sophie Brown.” In sick messages sent to the decoy, Twaites sent an image of his genetalia, asked her about her underwear and said he would be her boyfriend or “daddy.”
Prosecutor Philip Standfast told Bradford Crown Court on Monday it was not the first time Twaites had attempted to message a child in a sexual manner. He said he was convicted in 2018 of four counts of attempting to cause a child under 16 to engage in a sexual act and two counts of attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child.
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Mr Standfast said: “On this new indictment, he sent a friend request on the 5th January this year and asked how she was. She said she was 13 and the defendant said he was 32. The conversation was quite general then he asked if she knew anyone single over 18 and that he liked going on dates. He said he couldn’t ask some questions because she was only 13.
“He mentioned kissing and said they couldn’t because she was underage. He spoke about kissing, asked what kind of underwear she had on, said he would be her boyfriend or daddy. He asked about her bra size and spoke about a surprise, likely jewellery or perfume. He said he wouldn’t send nudes until she was 16.”
Twaites went on to send an indecent image of himself and requested “Sophie” do the same. Once the conversation moved to WhatsApp, Twaites suggested “Sophie” could touch him “if they met in the woods.”
He made arrangements to meet her, but did not attend, and the Online Predator Group went to his home address and the police were called and he was arrested.
The court heard: “He was interviewed and admitted speaking to her [“Sophie”] but couldn’t remember sending an image or requesting one but confirmed the image he sent was of him…He denied being sexually attracted to children.”
It was said a search of his phone revealed prohibited images and moving videos of children. Mr Standfast said: “He said he had been sent the images on his mobile but couldn’t remember who sent them. He said he got the image out of the blue on Snapchat and thought it was a woman [that sent them] but when the images were sent he blocked and deleted them.”
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Julian White, mitigating, said Twaites had been bullied at school and described him as “isolated” and “lonely.”
He told the court a pre-sentence report had been prepared which spoke of Twaites attempt to minimise his offending and added: “The report gives some indication as to his history and background and it can be interpreted that he was an isolated and lonely person unable to hold down a job and is still living with his parents.
“He was bullied at school. In some respects, these factors give some explanation into this isolated and lonely man who spends his time sitting in his bedroom and indulging himself in this behaviour. He has no other interests, nothing to distract himself from this behaviour. He is a man with great difficulty with communicating.”
Twaites was jailed for four years with an extended licence period of two years as a “dangerous offender” after admitting offences of attempting to cause or incite a child to engage in sexual activity, attempted sexual communication with a child and attempting to arrange or facilitate a meeting with a child for sexual activity and possession of prohibited images of children.