An online sex offender who tried to coax a 13-year-old ‘girl’ into sex has been jailed for two years after being snared by a vigilante group.
Andrew Carrington, 56, contacted the ‘girl’ after seeing a fake profile on Facebook set up by an online child-protection group, York Crown Court heard.
In fact, the ‘girl’ was an adult decoy posing as a teenager to whom Carrington sent a Facebook request, said prosecutor Richard Herrmann.
In his messages Carrington, from York, asked her how old she was and despite her telling him she was 13 years old, he continued messaging her and the conversations “very quickly became highly sexual”.
“On the same day, he asked her to send him photos of her in her underwear,” said Mr Herrmann.
Carrington, who is a father, bombarded the ‘girl’ with further messages including one in which he asked her: “Do you want to see me naked?”
He told her he wanted to have sex with her and said, “If I raped you, would you tell?”.
“He said, ‘Don’t tell anyone because I’d go to prison’,” added Mr Herrmann.
In a subsequent message, Carrington asked her to meet him in York for sex, but later got cold feet and cancelled the meeting.
He also sent across sexually explicit videos of himself.
‘I’ve been stupid’
Carrington was arrested on 3 July after being confronted at his home in York by members of the vigilante group which live-streamed the confrontation on its Facebook site and called police to the address.
He was taken in for questioning and told police: “I’ve been stupid and I’ve been caught.”
He was charged with attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity, attempted sexual communication with a child, trying to arrange a meeting with a view to committing a sexual offence and attempting to cause a child to watch an image of a person engaging in sexual activity.
The offences were charged as attempts because, unbeknown to Carrington, the ‘child’ was fictional.
He admitted all matters and appeared for sentence today (Monday, 17 October).
Defence barrister Emily Hassell said he had never been in trouble before.
“His offending became well known in his community and he made the decision to move out of York,” said Ms Hassell.
Carrington gave his new address as Washbeck Close, Scarborough.
Ms Hassell said he had been in a relationship for many years. Although it had floundered after the offences came to light, he had since got back together with his partner and they were now living together in Scarborough.
Judge Sean Morris slammed Carrington for the “filthy” chats with the fictional girl, although he accepted the defendant’s expressions of remorse and “shame” for his vile behaviour.
Jailing Carrington for two years, Mr Morris said it had to be an immediate sentence because “people who think they are in conversation with 13-year-old girls and incite them to do sexual things can damage people”.
Carrington was also placed on the sex-offenders’ register for ten years and slapped with a ten-year sexual-harm prevention order to curb his contact with children.