May 2023

Alfreton paedophile took rucksack of booze to meet underage girl for sex

A paedophile turned up at a Derbyshire railway station with a bottle of whisky and beer in a rucksack to take a 13-year-old girl he’d groomed online to some nearby woods for sex.

In a message shortly before he did, Ryan Burton told the teenager to say she was his cousin if anyone challenged them.

But unbeknown to the 25-year-old, Leah, who he’d messaged continually for three weeks and badgered into meeting him, was really an undercover police officer.

Jailing him for 27 months, Judge Shaun Smith KC said: “What you set about doing in January and February of this year was appalling, quite frankly. You did not know it was a police officer, you thought it was a 13-year-old girl.

“I am not going to repeat the disgusting things you said you were going to do to her but sometimes people say these things and never go out of their bedroom and the court can be content it is all talk. But that did not happen with you.

“You intended to meet up with what you thought was a 13-year-old girl in order, and I have absolutely no doubt in my mind about this, that you will have had sexual activity with her. You arrived at the station, you had a rucksack and in it booze to ply her with but thankfully it was not a 13-year-old girl.

“I take into account your age and I take into account that you were bound to be caught and that demonstrates an element of naivety. But there is concern (from the probation service) in your pre-sentence report that you pose a high risk to female children online aged 11 to 16 in order to satisfy your sexual needs.”

Stefa Fox, prosecuting, said an undercover police officer set up a profile for the decoy, named Leah, and that “almost immediately” the defendant began chatting to her online. He said very quickly their online chat turned sexual and over the next three weeks the officer gathered 188 pages of chat logs between them.

The prosecutor said: “He asked her what school she went to and told her he was a fast food manager. He sent her a picture of his (private parts) and asked her if she liked it and if she wanted to have sex with him. The conversation continued with him saying ‘you look very young, it’s going to be fun dating you,’ and ‘can I see you nude?’.

“He said she would look cute in her school uniform and then sent her a video over Snapchat of him (touching himself sexually). Throughout their conversations he persistently tried to make plans to meet her.”

Mr Fox said the pair did arrange to meet at Alfreton railway station on February 22, this year, and he sent her messages that morning saying he would take her to some woods he knew and that if anyone saw them together she should tell them she was his cousin.

He said the police confronted him at the railway station and he had a rucksack in which was a bottle of whisky, beer, food, soft drinks and a towel.

Burton, of George Street, Alfreton, pleaded guilty to attempted sexual communication with a child, attempting to cause a child to watch a sexual act and attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming. He has no previous convictions.

As well as the jail term, Judge Smith placed Burton on the sex offender register for 10 years and handed him a 10-year sexual harm prevention order.