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Facebook pervert caught out in sting by paedophile hunters
A railway worker who tried to groom a 14-year-old schoolgirl on social media was arrested after he was caught in a sting by a paedophile hunter group.
Neil Shearer of Northampton but who was working in Leicetser thought the child, who accepted his friend request on Facebook, was a real person.
But her name and identity were the creation of paedophile hunters group S.T.O.P UK
The civilian group of vigilantes then carried out a sting operation, by turning up to greet him at the rendezvous point, Leicester Railway Station, on Monday May 10 last year.
Tom Heath, prosecuting, said the hunters’ fictional Facebook account received and accepted a friend request from the defendant.
Mr Heath told Leicester Crown Court: “Shearer messaged ‘How are you?’ She (the bogus girl) asked how old he was and he said he was 48. She said she was 14 and from Derby.”
He asked her if she wanted a boyfriend and if she wanted him to go to Derby to meet her, or if she could travel to Leicester, where he was working.
As the messaging continued, he said he’d take care of her if she fell pregnant.
He asked her to accompany him to a hotel in Wigston, near Leicester, and said he would be bringing “condoms.”
The ‘girl’ asked what she should tell her mother and Shearer said to tell her he was 18, rather than 48.
Mr Heath said the defendant mentioned sex three times in conversations and asked for a naked picture. When she asked what they would be doing at the hotel, he told her “have sex.”
He then messaged the girl’s account on the afternoon of the arranged meeting to confirm he would be there.
He sent the person he believed to be the girl a photograph of himself, so she would recognise him.
Shearer then arrived at the train station at 5.30pm and was confronted by the hunter group, who became “aggressive,” the court was told. Members of the public, witnessing the confrontation, called the police out of concern, said Mr Heath.
When British Transport Police officers arrived, Shearer said: “I shouldn’t have done it.” The defendant, formerly from Northampton, who later moved to the Northallerton area of North Yorkshire, has since turned 49, and had no previous convictions.
He had an appropriate adult present when he was interviewed. His mobile phone was examined and showed no other interactions with children.
Shearer admitted attempting to meet a girl under 16 and attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child.
Sentencing, Judge Ebrahim Mooncey said: “You were engaging in very deliberate conduct and believed you were talking to a 14-year-old girl. You made your intentions clear.
“She wasn’t real, she was part of a ploy by a hunter group. The law is there to protect children and young people who might not understand what’s going on.