May 2023

Paedophile who posed as man called ‘Rob Page’ sent sick messages

A paedophile who thought he was sending sexual messages to young girls on social media was actually speaking to decoys set up by a paedophile hunting group.

Peter Hicks, 75, set up a Facebook profile under the name ‘Rob Page’ and sent a string of vile messages to what he thought were three girls aged between 13 and 14, telling them how he wanted to kiss and touch them while also sending one of them a photo of his penis.

However, he was really speaking to members of a paedophile hunter group, who later tracked him down to his home address and reported him to the police.

After he was arrested, Hicks admitted he had fantasised about young girls for years, but insisted his messages were “all fantasy” and he had no intention of meeting with any of the girls he believed he was messaging.

Hicks, of Owens Close, Barry, appeared at Cardiff Crown Court on Thursday, May 4 having pleaded guilty to attempting to entice a child under the age of 16 to engage in sexual activity and attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child.

The court heard how, on April 21 2022, Hicks sent a Facebook friend request to who he believed to be a 13-year-old girl living in Devon with her mother. However, the account was actually being run by a member of the paedophile hunter group, an adult man.

Hicks had set up a profile on the social media platform using the name ‘Rob Page’ and initiated conversation with the decoy, telling her his name was Rob, he was 55 years old and single.

He then sent her a picture of himself, showing his face and bare shoulders.

During the initial conversation, he told her she was “pretty” and remarked that he shouldn’t be talking to a girl her age, adding that she could keep their conversations a secret if she wanted to.

James Evans, prosecuting, told the court that, within days, Hicks made the conversation increasingly sexual, as he talked to the decoy about kissing and rubbing her well as sucking her nipples and “touching her p***y”.

Having sent her a picture of his penis and telling her how he “wished he could go to bed with her”, he also asked the decoy to send him a picture of her vagina, instructing her on how to take before telling her to delete it after she had sent it to him.

The defendant then asked to move the conversation onto Whatsapp, an encrypted platform.

On May 2, he sent another friend request to a second decoy, another 13-year-old girl, and began a conversation with her, describing her as being “damn sexy” and saying they could meet up the next time she was in Wales.

Hicks said he wanted to touch her breasts, describing her as having “lovely little boobs”, before telling her he wanted her to “touch his c**k”.

During their conversation, he also said he would like her to “wear white panties” if they met. However, Mr Evans explained that, while it defied logic, Hicks then brought the conversation to a close when he realised the decoy was 13 and not 14 years old.

On the same day, Hicks messaged a third decoy account which was posing as a 14-year-old girl. During their conversation, he asked if she had a boyfriend and whether she liked older men, while also enquiring if her parents checked her phone.

He also asked her if she had ever ‘sexted’ and when she appeared reticent about it, added that she would “have to grow up at some stage”.

After being tracked down by the paedophile hunter group and reported to police, Hicks was detained and arrested on May 8, with his mobile phone seized.

In his police interview, he apologised for his actions and explained that his messages were “all fantasy” and that he had no intention to commit contact offences.

However, he admitted he had fantasised about girls aged around 13 for the last six years.

Awarding Hicks one-third credit for pleading guilty at the earliest opportunity, Judge Tracey Lloyd Clarke sentenced him to two years and eight months imprisonment.

He will also be added to the Sex Offenders register for life, while he was made subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for 15 years.