Pervert back behind bars after being caught in another undercover sting

A pervert who was jailed after being snared by paedophile hunters is back behind bars after being caught in an another undercover sting.

By Karon Kelly
Friday, 17th June 2022, 5:20 pm
Updated Friday, 17th June 2022, 5:44 pm

In 2017 Steven Knox turned up at a pub car park in South Shields to meet what he thought was a 15-year-old boy but was confronted by members of Dark Justice and Guardians of the North, who had been behind the fake teen profile.

Knox, who was then a barber, had a collection of indecent images of children on his phone and in 2019 he was jailed for 21 months for the offences, with ten years on the sex offenders register and a sexual harm prevention order.

The 48-year-old, formerly from South Shields, was released from prison in January 2020 but is now back in jail for trying to meet a 14-year-old boy.

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Steven Knox.

Newcastle Crown Court heard this time he was in an online chatroom for over-18s and started talking to what turned out to be an undercover operative, who he thought was an underage boy.

When he turned up to meet him the child he was greeted by the police.

The court heard Knox had continued the online conversation despite being told he was talking to someone underage.

Judge Penny Moreland said: "It rapidly became sexual and it included you inviting that person to send you a sexual image of themselves. A naked picture was sent but not of that person.

"Within the day you arranged to meet that person with a view of full sexual intercourse taking place. Instead of a 14-year-old boy you were met by police officers, who arrested you."

Knox, now of Burton Street, Byker, Newcastle, pleaded guilty to attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming and possessing cannabis and has been jailed for 32 months.

He must also sign the sex offenders register for life.

Kelly Sharif, defending, said: "At the time he was a person who in his own words was a lonely individual due to his previous offending behaviour and was reliant on alcohol and drugs.

"He was on a website that was an over-18s website so he didn't purposefully seek out a child, however he did have a conversation with a person with whom he was then told was underage and he admits, at that point the conversation should have ended.

"He is extremely remorseful and sorry for this offending.”

The court heard Knox has already breached the sexual harm prevention order made in 2019 by having an unregistered phone.