June 2022

Leeds man jailed after grooming decoy 13-year-old girl set up by Predator Exposure group

A Leeds man has been jailed for two years after he was caught grooming what he thought to be a 13-year-old girl – which was actually a decoy set up by Predator Exposure.

Predator Exposure are a paedophile hunting team based in West Yorkshire that seeks to expose sex offenders who target children online.

Group members set up ‘decoy’ social media profiles pretending to be of a child and then engage in online conversations

Bilal Ahmed, 25, contacted an account set up by a member of the group in March 2020, prosecutor Bashir Ahmed told Leeds Crown Court

“One of their group uploaded a profile of a child named Melanie aged 13 years”, the prosecutor said.

“The defendant contacted Melanie through her Facebook account on March 22.

“There were a series of conversations.

“Ultimately the defendant blocked Melanie because he wasn’t getting answers.”

The chat that did take place was “sexually explicit on occasions”, the prosecutor said.

He added: “The defendant displayed grooming type behaviour wanting to meet Melanie.

“He said: ‘Would you let me hold your neck and kiss your lips slowly.”

Police officers seized Ahmed’s mobile phone and the chat was uncovered.

He was arrested in February 2021 and answered no comment to questions, before being released under investigation.

In December 2021, Ahmed was also arrested after turning up at the place of work of a woman who he had previously been warned about harassing.

On December 21, he turned up at her place of work.

At the end of her shift, wary Ahmed was “lurking”, the woman asked a colleague to accompany her to leave the building, Leeds Crown Court was told.

Ahmed “wanted to speak” to the woman and “would not take no for an answer”.

The victim was worried for her safety as Ahmed attempted to grab her handbag, the court heard.

CCTV footage showed Ahmed pushing the woman and punching the man, the court was told.

This caused an injury to the male victim’s face.

Ahmed refused to leave the area until police arrived.

Ahmed, of Norwood Terrace, Leeds, pleaded guilty to one count of affray, one count of attempting to communicate sexually with a child and offences of attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity.

Sentencing Ahmed, Judge Tom Bayliss QC told Ahmed he was “grooming” who he thought to be the girl.

“The aim on your part was to meet her, but you were caught”, the Judge continued.

“There was a degree of planning on your part, grooming behaviour for some time.

“There has to be an immediate custodial sentence.”

Ahmed was jailed for two years.

He was also made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order for a period of 10 years and must sign a sex offender notification for 10 years.

Ahmed was also given a restraining order against the female victim of the affray