January 2023

Amble man jailed after being snared by paedophile hunters

A respected engineer who joked he would be ‘done for baby snatching’ during sex chat with a ‘child’ was snared by paedophile hunters and has been put behind bars

Kevin Wintrip thought he was chatting to a 14-year-old girl over social media app Scout and moved the conversation over to Whatsapp.

Newcastle Crown Court heard a member of Child Online Safety Team was behind the fake child profile and alerted the police.

Prosecutor Rachael Glover told the court Wintrip claimed his name was Colin during the chats and added: “She stated more than once she was 14.

“The defendant began to send her messages of a sexual nature.

“He was commenting on her looks, saying she was pretty and he would be done for baby snatching.”

Miss Glover said Wintrip encouraged the child to perform sex acts on herself during the illegal exchange in July 2020.

Wintrip, 66, of Ivy Street, Amble, denied attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity and attempting to have sexual communication with a child but was found guilty by a jury after a trial.

Judge Robert Spragg has now jailed him for three-and-a-half years.

The judge told him: “The messages were clearly of a sexual nature.

“On a number of occasions she said she was too young and reiterated her age to you.

“It was very clear from what you said to her, despite your denials at trial, you believed you were in contact with a 14-year-old girl.

“You talked about her being at school, being too old for her and being done for baby snatching.”

The court heard Wintrip, who retired from his engineering job as a result of the proceedings, claimed he believed he as talking to an adult who was “part of fantasy role play”.