Man jailed following paedophile hunter sting as he thought he was talking to 13-year-old

Officers arrested Gray at his Keswick address on 23 January last year after he was confronted by the paedophile hunters Credit: Craig McGlasson/Cumbria Police

A Keswick man has been jailed after he was snared by paedophile hunters when he thought he was engaging in sexual online chats with a 13-year-old.

Martin Gray, 48, was jailed for 28 months after he was confronted by vigilantes and brought to the attention of the police where it emerged he had also conducted internet searches about the legal age of consent and penalties for breaking the law.

One of the paedophile hunters had set-up a fake Facebook profile pretending to be a 13-year-old schoolgirl.

Gray contacted the fake profile where he was immediately told of her age and vulnerabilities within their personal life.

Prosecutor Kim Whittlestone told Carlisle Crown Court: "The defendant was kind but quickly the conversation turned sexual in nature."

He tried engage the "girl" in sexualised chat, told her he loved her and wanted to meet up, also sent an intimate picture of himself and said he would "teach her about sex".

"He told her to keep it a secret," said Miss Whittlestone.

Gray was said by his barrister to be a man of "extreme vulnerability" who, in custody, "would be about as vulnerable as it is possible to be".

At Carlisle Crown Court he admitted attempting to incite a child to engage in both sexual activity and sexual communication; attempting to cause a child to look at an image of sexual activity; and cannabis possession.

He was jailed for 28 months with judge David Potter saying: "It is only through some good fortune that the person with whom you were communicating was an adult decoy."

Gray, previously of Blencathra Street, Keswick, must sign the sex offenders’ register as part of strict notification requirements, and comply with the terms of a prevention order, both for 10 years.

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