Divorced dad told 'teen' that he "liked young girls"

A divorced dad who told a ‘14-year-old Facebook friend’ he "liked young girls" and sent explicit messages to her was snared by paedophile hunters.
Peter SmithPeter Smith
Peter Smith

Peter Smith thought he was chatting to a schoolgirl on the social media site but had been duped by Justice4Kids, an organisation whose members pose as children online and were behind the fake profile.

Newcastle Crown Court heard the 59-year-old had asked if the teen "liked old men", said he "liked young girls" and asked her what she was wearing.

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During the ten day chat in March last year, Smith sent explicit pictures, requested the same in return and asked if anyone knew about their conversations or had access to her phone.

Prosecutor Andrew Espley told the court: "We say, putting pressure on her not to tell anyone what was going on."

Smith was told that the teen lived with her aunt and was home schooled after being taken away from her mum.

The court heard Smith had suggested he could meet the girl if she visited South Shields, where she said she had visited the beach in the past, but no firm arrangement was made.

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Smith, of Copley Avenue, South Shields, admitted seeking to arrange a child sex offence.

Judge Tim Gittins sentenced Smith to a three year community order with programme and rehabilitation requirements with ten year sex offender registration and sexual harm prevention order.

Smith must abide by an eight month night time curfew.

Judge Gittins told him: "What is particularly troubling is reference by the decoy profile to the girl being home schooled and having been removed from the care of her mother, meaning, had it been a real girl in that situation she would have not just been underage but particularly vulnerable."

Vic Laffey, defending, said: "He has expressed to me his great shame at the situation in which he finds himself."

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Mr Laffey said Smith started drinking to excess after he was made redundant, and was at the time of the offence, but has sought help.

Mr Laffey said Smith is "isolated" and has lost support of family members due to his offending.