South Tyneside man who took part in sexualised online message chats with decoy schoolgirl is snared by undercover police

A South Tyneside man who took part in sexualised online message chats with a decoy schoolgirl has been snared by undercover police.

By Gareth Crickmer
Monday, 16th May 2022, 4:55 am

James Arthur, 41, believed he was in contact with a 12-year-old when he used a pseudonym to request a photo, a court heard.

An undercover officer sent an image of a girl in school uniform, to which Arthur, of Burnside, Primrose, Jarrow, responded.

Prosecutor Elizabeth Winchester told South Tyneside Magistrates Court that Arthur asked to meet at a supermarket and to get her into his car – or go with him to the beach.

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South Tyneside Magistrates Court.

Before doing so, she told the court that he posed her the question: “Won’t your mother wonder where you are?”

She revealed Arthur was in fact communicating with police on online forums between February 21 and March 15 last year.

He has now been placed on the sex offenders register after admitting a charge of being an adult attempting to engage in sexual communication with a decoy child.

Mrs Winchester said: “The witness was a law enforcement operative using a pseudonym and known as ‘C’

“’C’ logged into a chat room on February 23, and he logged on shortly afterwards.

“’C’ told GBJ that they were a 12 years-old girl, and he then requested a picture.

“Communication then moves on to a different forum. ‘C’ sends over a picture of a 12-year-old in school uniform.”

Other chats followed, including one where Arthur recognised the illegal nature of his propositions, it was said.

Mrs Winchester added that he then messaged on March 9, saying, “You could get away for a bit this weekend. Won’t your mother wonder where you are?

“We can go down to the beach or somewhere else if you want to walk.”

Magistrates heard Arthur then suggested they meet at an Asda outlet, telling her he could pick her up in his car – but he then got cold feet.

Mrs Winchester added: “Messages come to say that he doesn’t think that they should meet up and that she should find someone her own age.

“’C’ then replies that she is gutted that the defendant doesn’t want to meet her.”

David Forester, defending, suggested a report into Arthur’s behaviour be compiled before sentencing.

Arthur, who has no previous convictions, will be sentenced at the same court on Tuesday, May 31.

Magistrates ordered a report and granted him unconditional bail.