August 2023

Pervert snared by paedophile hunters after sending explicit picture to ‘teen boy’

A “vulnerable” pervert was caught out by paedophile hunters after sending an explicit picture to what he thought was a 14-year-old boy.

Stephen Henderson was exposed in August 2021 after messaging a fictitious child on Facebook.

A paedophile hunting team set up a fake account of a teenage boy named ‘Adam’ and were messaging Henderson back and fourth.

Teesside Crown Court heard the Redcar defendant contacted ‘Adam’ first calling him “sexy” in a Facebook message. The account told him he was 14 and the pair started talking about football before the messages grew sexual.

Prosecutor Matthew Hopkins said the defendant asked for photos of ‘Adam’ and began complimenting him on his appearance.

He said: “The defendant then started talking about what turned Adam on and he asked him if he wanted to talk dirty. The defendant asked ‘Adam’ to sent a photo of himself wearing only a shirt. He asked him for there to be “nothing on down below.”

The court heard the 29-year-old then tried to video call ‘Adam’ and later sent a photo of his genitalia to the account.

He was then confronted at his home by the group and reported to police. The court heard video footage of the confrontation has been widely circulated online.

The defendant pleaded guilty to attempting to engage in sexual communications with a child and attempting to incite a child under 16 to engage in sexual activity.

Sentencing, Judge Jonathan Carroll described the victim as “vulnerable” and noted Henderson did not know the age of the fictitious child when he first started messaging the account.

Judge Carroll handed the Homerell Close resident a two-year community order requiring him to complete 40 rehabilitation days and 180 hours of unpaid work.

He will also be subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO).