Chorley man who was caught by online paedophile hunters is sentenced

A man who was reported to police by a self styled ‘paedophile hunters’ group after they posed as a teenager has been ordered to sign the Sex Offender’s Register for five years.

Liam Matthew Griffin, of Stratford Road, Chorley, was involved in an online conversation with a person he thought was a 13-year-old girl on February 4, and later admitted attempting to engage in sexual activity with a child.

Crown Court

Crown Court

The 20-year-old also admitted a further charge of attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child by having a sexual conversation.

READ MORE: Chorley man exchanged sexual messages with paedophile hunters posing as teenage girl

Griffin, who suffers from Aspergers and learning difficulties, was committed to Preston Crown Court for sentencing.

Recorder Wright QC imposed a two year community order with a curfew and 10 rehabilitation activity days.

He was also given a five year sexual harm prevention order, and must pay a £90 victim surcharge.

A previous hearing at the magistrates’ court was told the defendant became involved in exchanging messages with a girl he believed to be 13.

He admitted in interview that although she gave different ages he did eventually believe her to be 13.

But the person he was messaging were adults involved in a paedophile hunting network.

During the course of the conversation Griffin had asked for pictures of her naked breasts and some pictures were sent to him.

At the same hearing his defence lawyer, Laura Walmsley said the “pseudo person” had appeared in the ‘people you may know’ section of Facebook and he had not deliberately sought out a 13-year-old girl.

She also said it was a very “juvenile conversation” that went on, but acknowledged it did become criminal.

Judges need to consider a number of factors when imposing a sentence to ensure the sentence is one of punishment, rehabilitation, reparation and public protection.

The Sentencing Council states that a mental illness or learning disability can be a mitigating factor when considering a suitable punishment.

In addition, judges or magistrates have to take the abilities and support needs of individual offenders into consideration, in order to avoid unreasonable or unrealistic expectations being imposed on them when sentenced.