May 2023

Pervert arrested at NURSERY where he worked as a cook after he was caught sending sick messages to ‘girls’

A paedophile that worked in a nursery sent disgusting messages to what he thought were, 11, 12 and 13-year-old ‘girls’.

They were actually adult decoys, acting on behalf of a ‘paedo-hunter’ group and the North West Organised Crime Squad.

In the chats, across different social media platforms, James Barber, 56, befriended, groomed and spoke to the ‘girls’ for a number of days.

He told them he was looking for ‘young, sexy girls’, said he ‘liked innocence’ and added that ‘young girls just make me excited’.

Barber was arrested at a nursery in Altrincham where he worked as a cook.

The 56-year-old, of no fixed abode, also sent indecent images of himself to the ‘children’.

He admitted making indecent images of children after a number of vile pictures were found on his phone, and admitted attempting to engage in sexualised conversations with children and attempting to cause a child to watch sexual activity.

Yesterday (May 16) at Manchester Crown Court, he was handed a suspended sentence.

Prosecutor Tom Challinor said that in May 2021, officers from the North West Regional Organised Crime Squad deployed one of its specially trained officers to pose as a 12-year-old girl online.

Between May 18 and July 1, Barber and the girl spoke on ‘Fast Chat’, with her initially telling him she was 12.

“He proceeded to attempt to groom her and engaged in sexual conversations, telling her he liked ‘young, sexy girls’,” Mr Challinor said. “He said he wanted to touch her bottom and cuddle her and look at one another naked.”

Barber also said he wanted to take her somewhere private and later sent images of himself.

On July 12 he was arrested at his former place of work, a nursery in Altrincham, where he worked as a cook.

His phone was interrogated, with officers finding a number of indecent images, including 18 category A pictures, described as the worst type.

Barber was released on police bail, but it wasn’t long before caught the attention of the group, Children’s Innocence Matterz.

He began speaking to a ‘child’, who was actually a member of the group, on another chat website.

On November 26 last year, the girl, purporting to be a 14-year-old, was speaking with Barber, who told her: “I just wanted a young girl.”.

The decoy asked ‘what age do you want’, to which he replied: “12/13 is nice.”

The conversation continued, with the decoy mentioning she had a sister who was seven-years-old, in which Barber said he ‘hoped’ he could talk to her. The decoy then asked if Barber wanted to speak to her 10-year-old friend, he replied: “Yes please, I’d like to chat.”

Then on November 18, a different decoy from the same group began chatting to Barber, posing as an 11-year-old girl.

“He told her ‘I like young girls’, said she was very pretty and gorgeous and asked if she had any sexy photos,” the prosecutor continued.

In a series of chats between November 29 and December 1, he was asked by the decoy why he was interested in little girls. He replied: “I don’t know, I just like little girls. Young girls just make me excited. I like [the] look, I like innocence, I like [a] good body, it just turns me on, it’s very hard to explain.”

Then in a further chat with a ‘13-year-old girl’, he said: “Little girls are nice. I worry because I like young.”

Barber was arrested on December 2, and gave a no comment police interview. He was said to have no previous convictions.

The judge, Recorder Andrew Long, and Barber’s barrister Graham Rishton spoke briefly about the fact that Barber had already served the equivalent of a 10 month prison term after spending five months in custody.

“In cases of such seriousness, custody can only be justified but I can suspend the sentence and the defendant can carry out a more constructive sentence,” the judge said.

Mr Rishton agreed and did not advance any further mitigation.

Sentencing, Recorder Long said: “These unhealthy proclivities led to your first appearance at this court and a first taste of custody.

“Unless you face up to these proclivities and rely on the assistance of the probation, it is likely you will be back here and serving longer sentences.”

Barber, of no fixed abode, was handed a 20 month prison sentence which was suspended for two years.

He was also ordered to complete 20 days of rehabilitation activity requirements and undertake the Horizon Programme, which is designed to assist sex offenders who are at medium or high risk of reoffending.

He was also handed a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for 10 years and must sign onto the Sex Offenders Register for 10 years.