February 2022

Paedophile hunters catch Teynham delivery driver after he groomed ‘schoolgirl’

A delivery driver was caught by paedophile hunters who exposed him at work which then led to a bust up.

Walter Ripley believed he was sharing sex messages with a 14-year-old schoolgirl called ‘Poppy’ on WhatsApp.

But he was talking to a “decoy” from a group calling itself Undercover and Expose.

The judge criticised the three year delay that it has taken to bring the pervert to justice after he was caught by the group in February 2019.

Prosecutor Sophie Shotton said the delay was caused by “staffing problems”, Ripley being “released under investigation” and then the pandemic.

Now the 33-year-old has been jailed for three years after admitting four charges of trying to groom someone he thought was a child with a view to having sex and sharing images.

Maidstone Crown Court heard how the offences came to light because of the “online child abuse activity group” called Undercover and Expose.

Judge Philip Statman told Ripley: “This group has individuals who are prepared to go online and act as decoys. One of them called “Poppy” chatted with you on WhatsApp.

“She told you from the outset she was aged 14. You were responsible, in graphic terms, of then telling the decoy what it was you would like to do to her – although you made no attempts to meet her.

Despite that Ripley, of Orchard View, Teynham, sent her a disgusting image andvideos of himself saying he wanted to have sex with her.

Judge Statman continued:”You also sent voicemails of a sexual nature, disguising your identity by referring to yourself as Donald. Members of this group confronted you at your work address. There was some form of disturbance and the police were called.

“It is shocking that individuals such as you can go into chatrooms and speak in this way to individuals.”

The driver – who was sacked after being confronted by the paedophile hunters – will now remain on the Sex Offender’s Register indefinitely and has been made subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for 10 years.