April 2022

Todmorden dad asking ’11-year-old boy’ for sick photos is caught by paedophile hunters

A dad-of-three who was caught out by a paedophile hunting group “can’t explain” why he badgered what he believed was an 11-year-old boy for indecent images.

Brian Barnes, 35, of Wilkinson House in Todmorden, “had been smoking a lot of cannabis” when he began speaking to what he thought was a young boy on an app.

Barnes, a dad-of-four, messaged the boy – who was in fact a member of a paedophile hunter group – over the course of a week, requesting video calls and asking for pictures of his genitalia.

Prosecutor Paul Canfield told Bradford Crown Court on Monday: “When approached by him, he [the decoy] told the defendant his age a number of times.

“He continued to message and it was the defendant that initiated the sexual conversation and he persisted with his requests to see his penis, and how asking how big it was.”

Barnes asked the decoy what he was wearing and who he was with before it was requested that the conversation be moved to another app “better for picture sharing,” and his mobile number was found and his social media accounts traced by an online safety team.

Judge Andrew Hatton spared Barnes an immediate prison sentence for the offence of attempting to engage a child in sexual communication.

He handed him an eight month sentence suspended for 21 months and ordered him to undertake 40 rehabilitation days and 160 hours of unpaid work.