July 2023

Respected academic arranged to meet what he believed to be a 14-year-old boy for a sexual encounter

A respected academic has been jailed for arranging to meet what he believed to be a 14-year-old boy for a sexual encounter weeks after taking up a post at Durham University.

Dushmanta Kara, who left behind a wife and child when he came to the UK to take up the position in Durham, made contact with a profile ‘TwinkFreeNow’ on the online gay dating site Grindr, on April 25, the day it was posted.

Durham Crown Court heard the profile, with a picture of a boy with short dark hair, was, in reality, a decoy generated by an undercover police officer.

The court was told that although purporting to be aged 18, the minimum age for Grindr users, the decoy soon revealed to Kara that he was 14, as there is no age verification required to use the site.

Paul Newcombe, prosecuting, told the court the defendant’s profile indicated he was just four kilometres away from the location of the police operative posing as the boy.

Kara sent a picture to the decoy of his naked upper body and they discussed sexual activity they would like to perform on each other.

The ‘boy’ told Kara that he was “new to it” but told him he was free that night and alone at home, so they arranged to meet.

Mr Newcombe said they exchanged photographs of each other and they were able to track each other’s locations as they made their way to the rendezvous site, in Gilesgate, Durham.

But on arrival at the meeting point, Kara was arrested.

He told police he had been using Grindr since his arrival in the UK in February and accepted being involved in the exchange of messages in which he said they had discussed, “kissing, cuddling and oral sex”.

But Kara claimed he believed the boy to be aged 18, although he accepted the profile picture posted by the decoy looked younger than that.

By the time of his first crown court appearance, on May 26, however, the 31-year-old defendant, of Steavenson Street, Bowburn, admitted charges of arranging or facilitating the commission of a child sex offence and attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming.

He appeared at court for sentencing today (Thursday, July 13) assisted by a Hindi interpreter.

Judge James Adkin told the defendant that when told the ‘boy’ was 14, “that didn’t seem to be a problem” to him.

“Penetrative sex was contemplated by you when you arranged to meet the police decoy in Gilesgate, where you were arrested.”

Referring to the latest sentencing guidelines for the offences admitted by Kara, with a starting point of five years and a range from four to ten years, Judge Adkin said: “There has been a hardening of attitudes to this sort of offending.”

But he said there should only be a small deduction for the fact the boy did not actually exist, in circumstances such as this case.