March 2022

Convicted paedophile caught with two mobile phones despite being banned from owning them

A convicted paedophile was caught with two mobile phones despite being banned from owning the devices.

Malcolm Crane had been convicted at Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court in May 2019 for offences of attempting to incite a child under the age of 13 to engage in a sexual act and attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child.

As part of his sentence he received a sexual harm prevention order for 10 years and was advised of notification requirements which included telling police of any change in address.

He had last registered his details on January 4, 2021, and had been due to return to do the same a year later but he didn’t do so despite a reminder.

Police attended his home and there was no answer at the door and no subsequent contact. On January 13, 2022, police attended his partner’s address in Port Tennant and found the 50-year-old there. They arrested him and also found him to have two phones in his possession with access to the internet, which was another breach of the order.

Upon police interview he claimed to have been unaware of the annual notification requirement despite having done so in the past. He said he believed the order came to an end at the end of his probation period.

Crane, of Dyffryn y Coed, Church Village, Pontypridd, appeared at Swansea Crown Court for sentencing having admitted breaching the conditions of a sexual harm prevention order and two counts of failing to comply with notification requirements.

May 2019

‘I want to kiss your boobs,’ paedophile told ’12-year-old girl’ on Facebook

A paedophile called a social media user he believed to be a 12-year-old girl “sexy” and told her: “I want to kiss your boobs.”

Malcolm Crane, 47, thought he was chatting to a child called Lucy but the person behind the profile was actually an adult volunteer for a paedophile hunting group named Stop.

Merthyr Tydfil Crown Court heard he was detained during a “sting operation” that was livestreamed on Facebook.

David Pugh, prosecuting, said Stop is a group that aims to catch online sexual predators who prey on children.

Their “decoy” set up a profile pretending to be a girl called Lucy and accepted a friend request from Crane in January.

The court heard he asked for a photograph of her and sent her a message saying: “Hello sexy, are you there beautiful?”

She replied saying: “Hello, I’m Lucy. I’m 12 years old and I’m from Nottingham.”

Mr Pugh told the court: “She immediately identified her age. There is a sexual tone and content to the conversation.”

In February the defendant asked: “What are you wearing today, sexy? Wish I could see.”

Prosecutors said the conversation became more sexual and he encouraged her to put her hands in her underwear so she could have a “nice feeling”.

He sent further messages asking if her chest was developing and saying: “I want to kiss your boobs.”

Crane went on to send her an image of a penis after asking: “Have you ever seen a boy’s willy?”

Prosecutors said members of Stop went to his home on March 6 and livestreamed the “sting” online, prompting members of the public to arrive.

The defendant was arrested by the police and accepted it was him who had been interacting with the Facebook account.

He stated the conversation was initially “friendly” but turned sexual although he knew she was 12.

Crane told officers he was not attracted to children and was not “turned on” by what happened, adding he wanted attention. He said he did not realise it was an offence.

Prosecutors said he had been before the courts for 26 previous offences – mostly dishonesty and violence – and argued the offending was aggravated by the degree of planning and grooming.

Crane, from Bryntirion in Mountain Ash , admitted attempting to incite a girl to engage in sexual activity and two counts of attempting sexual communication with a child.

Nick Gedge, defending, stressed his client had no relevant previous convictions and there was no real child involved.

Explaining why Crane was not very open with the person who wrote the pre-sentence report, he told the court he was “ashamed”.

Mr Gedge said: “He leads something of an isolated life.”

He suggested the livestream on Facebook caused him “public humiliation”, adding: “A lot of local people were aware of that and came to the scene.”

In his sentencing remarks, Judge Geraint Walters said: “You did not know at the time that you were not talking to a child at all, but a woman who belonged to a vigilante group.”

He added: “I have said this before – those engaged in this kind of activity need to be very careful that they keep themselves on the right side of the law. It is a matter for the police to deal these cases.”

Crane was jailed for 27 months and the judge made a 10-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order. The defendant must register as a sexual offender for 10 years.