Jarrow man snared by internet paedophile hunters Dark Justice

A man from South Tyneside was confronted by paedophile hunters when he turned up to meet a 13-year-old girl he had been talking to online

Sunday, 21st August 2016, 9:52 am
Updated Thursday, 25th August 2016, 5:22 pm
Callum Jennings was caught by online paedophile hunters

Callum Jennings, 22, thought he had been chatting online to an underage schoolgirl he met on a dating site.

But Newcastle Crown Court heard he had been duped by Dark Justice, an organisation set up to track down men who want sex with young girls.

During the conversations with what he thought to be a 13-year-old girl, Jennings, of Pine Street, Jarrow, sent an indecent picture of himself, a video of himself engaging in a sex act and took part in graphic sexual chat.

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The court heard Jennings arranged to meet up with the girl at The Central Station in Newcastle on April 18.

Prosecutor Sue Hirst told the court: "Members of Dark Justice went to the meeting point and saw the defendant.

"They spoke to him and asked him if he considered meeting a 13-year-old and sending the messages he had sent her to be acceptable.

"He stated they were meeting as friends."

Jennings told police he had been "stupid".

He pleaded guilty to attempting to meet a child following grooming and attempting to cause a child to watch a sexual act.

Mr Recorder Toby Hedworth QC sentenced Jennings to 16 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, with rehabilitation requirements.

He must abide by a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and sign the Sex Offenders Register for ten years.

He told Jennings: "You were informed almost immediately that she was only 13. Notwithstanding that, you maintained your interest.

"Your interest became sexual almost immediately.

"Because of the good offices of Dark Justice, fortunately, there never was a real child. This you didn't know, it was a virtual relationship you were engaging in."

The judge said Dark Justice carry out "important work" and was convinced Jennings has learned a "salutory" lesson.

He said he was convined Jennings, who has never been in trouble before, would not be back in court again.

Brian Hegarty, defending, said Jennings had stated during the messages that he couldn't have sex with the girl because of her age and had asked if she had a spare room when they discussed him going to her home.

Mr Hegarty said Jennings had said he was unsure about the meeting and added: "He had grave reservations about what he was doing. He knew he was behaving

very foolishly."

The court heard Jennings, who is "crestfallen", is sorry for his behaviour and stands to lose a lot.