October 2021

Paedophile who groomed ‘girl’ on social media apps is jailed

A paedophile who groomed a ‘girl’ with the intention of having penetrative sexual activity with her has been jailed.

Shea Graham Hopper, 44, thought he was messaging a 12-year-old girl called ‘Tilly’ on dating and social media apps.

He was actually communicating with a profile being run by Dorset Police officers.

Sentencing Hopper at Salisbury Crown Court on Friday, October 22, Judge Robert Pawson said “there was no doubt whatsoever” in his mind over the defendant’s intentions.

Prosecuting, Ciaran Smith said police set up a decoy account for ‘Tilly’ and exchanged messages on dating app FastMeet before continuing on Snapchat.

The prosecutor said the ‘girl’ told Hopper she was in school and 12 years old several times.

Mr Smith said the defendant sent sexual messages as well as a video of adults having sex.

A message sent prior to the arranged meet said “I want us to do this if you want to too” after he had sent pornographic material.

“In due course an arrangement was made to meet,” said Mr Smith. “Officers attended with a view to arrest.”

The court heard that the defendant changed his mind about meeting, but officers followed his vehicle and tracked him down.

Following his arrest, Hopper told police: “I have been foolish. I do not even know why I was chatting to her. I know I have done wrong. I should not have even gone on Snapchat.”

Hopper, of Evelyn Road, Bournemouth, previously pleaded guilty to arranging or facilitating the commission of a child sex offence, attempt to engage in sexual communication with a child, possession of amphetamine and possession of cannabis.

Mitigating, Robert Grey said the defendant had been under the influence of drugs when he was messaging ‘Tilly’.

“There is a vital action her and it appears the defendant changed his mind,” said Mr Grey.

“He did not go through with the meeting. He drove away.”

The barrister added: “It seems here he came to his senses before he even got there because he turned his car around and went the other way.”

Mr Grey said his client’s true intentions could not be proved from the content in the messages, however, Judge Pawson disagreed and said there was “no doubt about it”.

Judge Pawson told the defendant: “Undoubtedly grooming behaviour when one reads the conversation between you and the victim.

“Sexual images of your victim were solicited and there was a significant disparity in age.”

The judge said Hopper’s decision to drive away from the meeting location “could be for any number of reasons”.

The defendant was jailed for two years and four months and issued with a sexual harm prevention order.