Jarrow loner caught trying to meet 14-year-old schoolgirl after sending increasingly sexual messages
A South Tyneside loner was outed trying to meet a schoolgirl by vigilantes, a court was told.
Paul Chapman, 37, was confronted on his doorstep in Etal Crescent, Jarrow, after exchanging online messages with a pretend 14-year-old.
But the youngster was a woman decoy working online to snare potential sex offenders, prosecutor Lillian Yanes Hellevik said.
After the pair exchanged increasingly sexual messages and arranged to meet, she tipped off vigilantes from a different internet watch group.
More specialised in confronting suspects, they went to Chapman’s home, South Tyneside Magistrates’ Court heard.
They filmed the allegations being put – and then uploaded the footage to social media site Facebook.
Mrs Yanes Hellevik said: “The witness in this case is not a child. She was working for a team called Team Impact.
“She was a decoy and posing as a 14-year-old. On November 3, she received a message which required an instant response.
“She pointed out that she was 14 and asked if he was ok with that.
“He said he was a bit older and that he thought people had to be 18 to be on the site.
“The conversation started innocently but progressed to general sexual terms.
“There were some tamer sexual references to some very clear and explicit messages.”
Mrs Hellevik said on Friday, December 11, the decoy told Chapman her friends could not join them for a planned meeting.
She added: “He suggested he take her shopping himself and said he was excited to meet her and couldn’t wait.
“The decoy has passed the messages on to another group who have attended his address, and contacted the police.”
Chapman has no previous convictions and did not request or pass on any images of a sexual nature, it was said.
David Forrester, defending, said: “He tells the people that come to his door he has done it because he was lonely and said he wasn’t really going to meet her.
“If anything, his loneliness has been worsened by being outed on Facebook. It’s an isolated offence, he has no previous convictions.”
Chapman pleaded guilty to being an adult attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child.
Magistrates ordered an all-options report and granted him unconditional bail to be sentenced at the same court on Friday, November 26.
He was made subject to the conditions of the sex offenders’ register.