South Shields pervert snared by paedophile hunters
A McDonald's employee was confronted at work by paedophile hunters after he made shocking sexual suggestions over the internet.
South Shields pervert Kristoffer Cook had sent graphic sexual chat to a decoy profile of a 14-year-old girl, which had been set up by paedophile hunters Geordie Chasers.
Cook asked for sex during the illicit messages and said he would "help her lose her virginity".
Prosecutor Emma Dowling told Newcastle Crown Court the 25-year-old fast food worker was confronted by members of the organisation during his shift at a city restaurant.
Miss Dowling told the court: "He had disclosed to the group where he worked, McDonald's in Grainger Street, Newcastle.
"A member of the group decided to confront him about the messages at his place of work.
"He attended at 11pm and asked the defendant to go outside.
"He told him he knew about the messages and informed the police.
"The defendant was arrested at the scene. "
The court heard before last November's incident that Cook had asked a junior school boy if they could "hug and kiss", asked for his picture and sent explicit messages over Instagram.
Cook, of St Cuthbert's Avenue, South Shields, pleaded guilty to causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity in relation to the young boy.
He pleaded guilty to attempting to cause or incite a child to engage in sexual activity in relation to the decoy profile.
Laurie Scott, defending, told the court Cook has been assessed by a psychologist to have "significant" difficulties and is vulnerable.
Miss Scott said Cook has never been in trouble before, had a difficult upbringing, has low "intellectual function" and has been assessed as posing a low risk of reoffending.
The court heard Cook has been a target of "summary justice" by vigilantes after his arrest.
Miss Scott told the court: "Those involved in this have found out where Mr Cook and his family live.
"There is a presence in the street every day.
"His sister has been assaulted and that has been reported to the police."
Mr Recorder Gibney sentenced Cook to 12 months' imprisonment, suspended for two years, with rehabilitation requirements.
He must sign the sex offenders' register and abide by the terms of a sexual harm prevention order for 10 years.
The judge said Cook has a series of problems including learning difficulties and low IQ.
Recorder Gibney added that "vigilante justice" is "completely inappropriate " and told Cook: "It has had an unfortunate impact on other members of your family,who are entirely innocent."