September 2022

Sheffield “predator” jailed after he is snared by paedophile hunter group

An online “predator” with a previous conviction has been caged after he was exposed by a paedophile hunter group posing with a decoy profile of a 13-year-old girl.

Luke Pryor, formerly of Parson Cross, Sheffield, was originally convicted in 2020 for three counts of attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child and for three counts of attempting to cause a child to watch a sexual act, according to a Sheffield Crown Court hearing.

Prosecuting barrister Amy Earnshaw told the hearing on September 6 how 26-year-old Pryor was given a community order but in June, this year, he struck up a sexual online conversation with a decoy profile of a 13-year-old girl which had been set up by a paedophile hunter group called Defending the Innocent.

Judge Peter Kelson QC told Pryor: “You have shown yourself to be a predator. A person who wishes to prey upon children. You have been given a chance of a non-custodial sentence and you have spurned that chance.”

Ms Earnshaw explained Pryor began communicating sexually with the decoy on WhatsApp in June and discussed kissing, cuddling, and undressing her.

Pryor sent four images of himself including three of him wearing nothing but a towel.

Ms Earnshaw said a further decoy contact was deployed by the paedophile hunter group and a meeting was arranged at Deerlands Avenue where the group attended and alerted the police.

Pryor pleaded guilty to two counts of breaching a previously Sexual Harm Prevention Order after possessing two phones capable of internet connection and by contacting someone online who was believed to be a child, and he also admitted attempting to sexually communicate with a child.

Judge Kelson revoked Pryor’s previous community order for the three counts of attempting to sexually communicate with a child, and the three counts of attempting to cause a child to watch a sexual act, and he chose to resentence the defendant for these matters alongside his new offences.

He told Pryor: “The offending you have now committed is the same one in so many ways. You were caught by a sting which was being run by a protective group here in Sheffield.”

Judge Kelson sentenced Pryor to two years of custody and the defendant was made subject to a restrictive Sexual Harm Prevention Order to run alongside his Sex Offender Register monitoring for 10 years.