May 2022

Instead of being greeted by girl at Durham station, sex offender was arrested by police

A sex offender arrived at Durham Railway Station expecting to meet a 14-year-old girl, with whom he believed he had been in communication, for a planned sexual encounter.

James Loades, 31, travelled from Northamptonshire, on March 2, and on arrival at the station sent a message to the “girl” saying he would visit her at home for a, “kiss and cuddle”, asking if she a virgin.

Durham Crown Court heard that in reality the girl did not exist and, unknown to Loades, he had been chatting with a “decoy” profile set up online by a woman posing as the 14-year-old.

As he sat waiting to meet the girl, police, who had been alerted, attended and he was arrested.

The court heard the planned “visit” took place less than three weeks after Loades’ release from a previous 14-month prison sentence for attempted sexual communication with a child.

Following his release, on licence, on February 11, he was visited by a police public protection officer and served with a copy of the Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) he was subject to, reminding him he was forbidden from having any contact with underage children.

But within days he was chatting to what he thought were two different girls, aged 14 and 13, as well as what was thought to be an actual girl, but who has not been traced.

One supposed 13-year-old, “Lola”, who accepted a friend’s request on February 25, was immediately flattered by Loades, who told her she would look good, “in heels”.

He offered to visit her to stay in a hotel and asked her to perform a sex act on herself, advising her to go into her mother’s bedroom and find a sex toy, as well as sending the girl sexual images.

The court heard there was no actual attempt, by the time of his arrest, to meet this girl, while there was also messaging with another “decoy”, Hannah, at about the same time.

In each case the “girl” would immediately tell Loades her age, and he responded that he was 31.

Loades told “Hannah” that girls her age were having sex and asking to see what underwear she was wearing.

The defendant, of Kettering, Northamptonshire, admitted four breaches of a SHPO, three counts each of attempting to cause/incite a girl aged 13 to 15 to engage in sexual activity and attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child, plus a single count of attempting to meet a girl under 16 following grooming.

Judge James Adkin said: “It’s pretty obvious what his intention was being at Durham.

“He’s done just about everything he could to commit them, by meeting with this girl, albeit, it wasn’t a child.”

Judge Adkin said his pre-sentence Probation Service report flagged up “pretty serious concerns” about his entrenched behaviour.

Addressing Loades, Judge Adkin said: “I take the view there’s significant risk of you committing further specified sexual offences.

“It must be observed, especially as this was so soon after your release, you seem unable to resist the compulsion to offend.”

Due to that risk of causing serious harm to children the judge imposed a five-year and four-month prison sentence, with an extended licence period of three years.

His requirement to register as a sex offender and SHPO restrictions both continue for life.