January 2023

Paedophile said ‘I’m guilty’ after police stopped him meeting 14-year-old ‘boy’

A paedophile admitted “I’m guilty’ moments after police stopped him from meeting a ’14-year-old boy’.

John Grunner, 44, appeared at Liverpool Crown Court on Tuesday after being caught by police on the way to meet with what he thought was a 14 year-old boy.

Nadine Nemat, prosecuting, detailed that on October 24, an undercover officer posing as a 14-year-old boy engaged in an online conversation with Grunner, who was using the name “JUK”.

The officer told Grunner he was 14-years-old early in the conversation, and Grunner soon asked if he had “done gay stuff before”. He said he had “done stuff” with an older boy at a party, and Grunner responded “do you want to do more?”.

They moved the conversation to Wickr, an encrypted communications platform, where Grunner wrote: “So you’re really 14, I don’t mind, wish you were closer”, before sending a picture of himself fully clothed.

After continuing to exchange messages, communications moved to Snapchat, where Grunner asked the ‘boy’ if he “was being naughty” and said he bet he had “some naughty pics to share”.

Grunner, of Riviera Drive, Liverpool, also sent an image of his boxers with his trousers pulled down.

On October 28, a further message read: “I bet you’d be a right horny boy, we would have so much horny fun, hope I can see a picture of you in your shorts.”

During their conversation, which lasted around 12 days in total, Grunner sent several images of himself. At the beginning of November, the undercover officer told Grunner he was talking to another boy in Liverpool aged 14 as well.

Grunner asked if the other boy would like to talk to him, and asked for his Snapchat details, before their communication ended on November 5.

On November 3, the defendant sent a message to another profile created by an undercover officer introducing himself, and the officer replied that he was 14 and asked if this was ok.

Grunner said he was okay with this, and told him he was gay. When asked by the ‘boy’, he then sent two pictures of himself.

The conversation continued, and on November 7, Grunner told the ‘boy’ he had “a thing for boys in uniform”, and “didn’t mind a bit of slap and tickle”.

The ‘boy’ said he had to keep their conversations a secret as his friends didn’t know he was gay, to which Grunner responded he also had to be careful because of his age.

Several references were made by Grunner to meeting the boy, including in the woods in Wavertree, where he believed the ‘boy’ lived.

On November 10, one message from Grunner read: “Don’t worry I’m not coming alone unless you’re home alone and I will park down the street and meet you.”

He said he wanted to give the boy a massage, and told him if he left school he would pick him up and pretend to be a family member taking him to the dentist.

Arrangements were made to meet on November 16 at Picton park in Wavertree, and the defendant sent a message saying he was feeling very nervous.

Merseyside Police stopped and arrested Grunner at the junction between Lake Road and Wellstead Road, opposite the park just before the pair were due to meet.

When arrested, Grunner, who has been in custody since this date, said: “I’m guilty, I know what I did was wrong, why the f**k have I been talking to teenagers, I’m such a d***head.”

In a police interview, Grunner admitted to wanting to have sexual activity with the teen boys he was talking to online, and said he used Snapchat to talk to them because the app can delete messages almost instantly.

Grunner said he spoke to around 10-15 males between the ages of 14 and 22-years-old, and “just wanted to see where it would go”, but said something might have happened in the park had the meeting been real.

He said talking to the young people meant he “could relive his youth”, and confirmed he was sexually motivated and gratified from sexual communications with children online.

He also accepted he was a paedophile and exploited the vulnerability of what he thought were young boys who were gay but had not come out yet.

In sentencing Judge Denis Watson KC, said: “You had set off to meet the boy and you were intercepted very close to the park where the intended meeting was.

“These are two 14-year-olds that you believed you were communicating with, you moved from one to the other and there is an element of grooming here.”

Grunner was sentenced to three years and four months imprisonment, and a notification order was implemented indefinitely.

An indefinite sexual harm prevention order was also handed down, preventing Grunner from having any device that can connect to the internet without informing police, and from living with a male child under 16.