July 2022

Jail for paedophile who travelled to Oxford to meet ‘girl’ for sex

A paedophile who travelled to Oxford with condoms and baby oil also had a clown costume stashed in his home, a court heard.

Paul Hearn, 56, journeyed from his home in Milton Keynes to the university city intending to meet the 13-year-old ‘girl’ with whom he’d spent the past week swapping explicit messages online.

But the ‘girl’ was, in fact, an undercover police officer trawling the net for would-be sex offenders looking to prey on children.

When detectives raided his home in the wake of his arrest in May 2020, they found a clown outfit, a box of sex toys and a computer containing indecent images of children.

Jailing him for 32 months at Oxford Crown Court on Monday, Judge Nigel Daly told Hearn: “One has to ask oneself what would have happened if there had been a 13-year-old girl waiting at the station for you.”

Prosecutor Robert Lindsey said Hearn made contact with the ‘girl’ on chatroom website Chatiw on May 5, 2020.

The decoy profile, which was operated by an undercover police officer, made it clear that ‘she’ was aged just 13.

The defendant was not put off, asking if she ‘liked older men’ and telling her ‘hmm, I like your age’.

He swiftly moved the conversation on to sexualised topics. He sent her an image of his genitalia and spoke about wanting to have sex with her.

Hearn also sent his mobile phone number to the ‘girl’. The number was the same one he had used to file a missing persons report in September 2019.

The pair made arrangements to meet in Oxford and, on May 18, he made good on his promise. Officers spotted him walking down George Street. When they stopped him, they found he had a packet of condoms and baby oil.

When detectives searched his home in Milton Keynes they seized sex toys, a clown costume and digital devices later found to contain indecent images of children.

Hearn, of Stantonbury, Milton Keynes, answered no comment when he was interviewed by the officers but pleaded guilty at the magistrates’ court to attempting to arrange or facilitate the commission of a child sex offence, attempted sexual communication and possession of indecent images.

Judge Daly imposed an indefinite sexual harm prevention order. Hearn will be on the sex offender register for life.