August 2023

Pervert caught & exposed by paedophile hunting group after he attempted to meet 14-year-old girl

A man who was caught by a paedophile hunting group after he attempted to meet a 14-year-old girl in Grantham was jailed for 16 months.

Steven Slater, 59, was apprehended after he attended Grantham railway station on July 24 last year and in fact met a 46-year-old woman who was acting as a decoy to target sex offenders.

The paedophile hunting group made a citizen’s arrest of Slater, who was living in Grantham at that time, and contacted Lincolnshire Police.

Lincoln Crown Court heard Slater had been in contact with the decoy on social media for two months.

The decoy had made it clear during their very first contact that Slater was talking to someone he believed was a 14-year-old girl, the court was told.

Phil Howes, prosecuting, said Slater caused the decoy to watch a sexual video on the very first day of their contact and later asked her to take a photograph of her breasts.

Mr Howes told the court: “There was evidence the defendant had tried to cover his tracks by removing many of his messages.

“He did not realise those live conversations had been recorded.”

In total 23 video recordings were made over 14 different days, the court was told.

Mr Howes said there was also talk on July 8 of the girl travelling to Grantham railway station and meeting the defendant, who would take her fishing.

This progressed to the decoy telling Slater that she had bought a £45 open ticket.

“The defendant tells her he was looking forward to meeting her,” Mr Howes added.

“The arranged meet on 24 July took an unexpected turn after the group contacted the police to say they had carried out a citizen’s arrest in Queen Street, Grantham.”

During his first interview, Slater said he thought the girl was 17.

The court heard that since his arrest, Slater had moved to an address in Gains Close, Canvey Island, Essex, and his marriage had ended.

He admitted five offences between May 20 and July 24, 2022.

They included causing a 14-year-old girl to watch sexual acts, attempting sexual communication, attempting to cause or incite a girl to engage in sexual activity of a non-penetrative nature and attempting to meet a girl aged under-16 following grooming.

Passing sentence Recorder Graham Huston accepted no real child was involved but said the communications ran to hundreds of pages.

Recorder Huston told Slater: “In this case you attended Grantham railway station to meet a 14-year-old girl who you had been communicating with. In fact it was an adult.”

“It is clear you deliberately set out grooming this girl,” the Recorder added.

“You viewed her as a sexual object from the beginning.”

Slater was also made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order for 10 years and must register as a sex offender for the same period.