Paedophile said he would pose as ‘schoolgirl’s’ grandad
A man told what he presumed was a 12-year-old girl he wanted to see her “in her birthday suit” and plotted a sordid sex meeting at McDonald’s.
Harry Croft said he would pretend to be the youngster’s grandad if customers or staff became suspicious during a series of lewd online chats.
Yet thankfully, and unbeknown to him, he was actually talking to an undercover police officer.
Liverpool Crown Court heard that the 61-year-old began communicating with what he thought was a 12-year-old child in a chatroom in November last year.
Carmel Wilde, prosecuting, described how the pervert asked to see pictures of her in a “sexy nighty or her birthday suit”.
Croft, of Turton Close, professed that “there are groups out there trying to trap men like me” and confessed that he was “scared of being found out”.
Nevertheless, he arranged to meet her at the McDonald’s branch in Newton-le-Willows and said that they would “pretend to be granddad and granddaughter” if anyone became suspicious. The pervert also told the decoy: “I’ve always wanted to see what it’s like to be with a young girl. As we get on so well, it’s only natural for us to try.”
Croft was arrested on December 20 at the arranged meeting point. Under interview, he said he had been on a website for over 18s and it had been a “fantasy, just playing along”, adding that he went to McDonald’s to “see if anyone turned up” and that they would “have a laugh” if so.
The defendant has one previous conviction for two offences.
Croft admitted attempting sexual communications with a child and arranging a child sex offence on Friday.
He was jailed for 30 months, handed a 10-year sexual harm prevention order and told to sign the sex offenders’ register for the same period.
Sentencing, the Honorary Recorder of Liverpool Judge Andrew Menary KC said: “The reality is, you recognise, there must be a prison sentence for these matters. The hope is, when you have served it, you will not commit any further offences in the future.”
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