Cyber pervert who asked ' teen girl' to send nude pictures is jailed after being snared by online paedophile hunters

Ronald Fairhurst has been locked up for 12 months.
Ronald Fairhurst has been locked up for 12 months.
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A pervert who tried to convince a schoolgirl to engage in sexual acts over the internet is behind bars after being snared by online paedophile hunters.

Ronald Fairhurst believed he was chatting to a 14-year-old on Facebook and engaged her in highly explicit chat, asked her for nude photographs and sent her a graphic video of himself performing a sex act.

In reality, the married 56-year-old was talking to husband and wife team OPIT, a group dedicated to catching paedophiles who lurk online.

The group, whose full title is the Online Predator Investigation Team, has secured convictions of perverts across the country and have many more court cases pending.

They were able to present the police with 125 pages of evidence against Fairhurst, of Hedworth Lane, Boldon, who pleaded guilty to attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity and attempting to cause a child to watch a sexual act.

Prosecutor Andrew Walker told Newcastle Crown Court: "It was a fictitious complainant, on a Facebook page set up, essentially with the purpose of seeking out someone who would target a child.

"What is apparent from the Facebook conversations is that it was made clear to this defenant that he was talking to, or believed he was talking to, a 14-year-old girl."

Mr Walker told the court Fairhurst made "repeated attempts to have this fictitious girl engage in sexual activity".

He added: "Those attempts and conversations he was having quickly descended into explicit sexual references on his part and also involved him on one occasion sending a video recording of himself masturbating.

"In addition to that, it involved him asking her to send him photos, sexual photos of herself."

The court heard Fairhurst talked about meeting the girl for a drink and told her to ensure she was somewhere private when she talked to him.

Mr Walker added: "What is also apparent is at no point did those who were pretending to be the girl encourage him.

"It is all one way."

Fairhurst was sentenced to 12 months behind bars and must sign the sex offenders register and abide by a sexual harm prevention order for ten years.

Judge Tim Gittins told him: "You were engaged in a Facebook conversation over a period of time with a person who you thought was 14.

"In fact, it was a couple engaged in seeking to identify people like yourself preying on such underage victims in a sexual way.

"It very quickly descended into a highly sexualised chat over a long period, with requests she send you photographs, naked photographs and you sent her photographs of your naked genitalia and you sought to engage in sexual activity with her, making references to sexual intercourse and making references to wanting to meet her.

"I accept no actual meeting was put into place but it culminated in you sending a video of yourself masturbating, that you thought was going to a girl who was

young enough to be your granddaughter."

Gavin Doig, defending, said Fairhurst was assaulted and forced to leave his home when word spread over the internet about what he had been involved in.

Mr Doig said Fairhurst has sought help in the form of counselling, hopes to save his marriage despite his behaviour and has never been in any trouble before.