June 2023

Man, 69, caught by paedophile hunters TWICE escapes prison sentence

A Wiltshire man caught by paedophile hunters twice has escaped a prison sentence after spending over four months behind bars on remand.

Michael Wadley, 69, asked what he believed to be a 14-year-old girl for naked photographs, stating he wanted to print them off and put them on his wall.

The defendant also sent the ‘girl’ a photograph of a penis and encouraged ‘her’ to masturbate.

Unbeknown to him, he was actually talking to paedophile hunters posing as the youngster – who attended his home in December 2021 and confronted him about his behaviour.

During a 40-minute-long live stream, police attended the defendant’s home in Bancroft, Bradford on Avon, and arrest him. He was released on police bail before being charged in late 2022.

Later appearing at Salisbury Crown Court, he pleaded guilty to attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child and making four indecent images of children – three in the most serious category.

Having been released on bail again ahead of sentencing, a different group of paedophile hunters arrived at his address to confront him over new offending – claiming that he had been communicating with a child online again.

He was arrested and put before Swindon Magistrates’ Court the following day. He admitted breaching his bail conditions by initiating contact with a 14-year-old girl and telling her she was “stunning”.

He was remanded into custody ahead of sentencing and subsequently, his health deteriorated significantly – which resulted in the sentencing hearing being delayed multiple times.

On Monday (26 June), he was finally sentenced at Salisbury Crown Court by the judge, Recorder Neil Millard.

He said: “Of concern in this case, whilst on bail you breached your bail by contacting a 14-year-old girl, resulting in you being remanded in custody.

“You have served a four-month custodial sentence, which is equivalent to an eight-month sentence.”

Mr Millard took into account his time spent in custody and imposed a 15-month prison sentence suspended for two years. He also imposed a ten-year sexual harm prevention order (SHPO).

As part of the order, Wadley is banned from having unsupervised contact with any child under the age of 16 – excluding one person named on the order – and is prohibited from wiping his internet history.

He can continue to use the internet, including social media, but has to seek prior approval from the police and must provide them with his usernames and passwords.