A cancer survivor was caught on camera trying to meet an underage girl for an illegal sexual encounter.
Corey Deans, who regularly hit newspaper headlines as he battled a brain tumour from the age of just seven, turned up to meet a 15-year-old girl called Katie he had met over adult chat site Badoo.
But Newcastle Crown Court heard ‘Katie’s’ profile was a fake account run by online paedophile hunters Guardians of the North.
When the 22-year-old technology worker arrived to meet the schoolgirl at South Hylton metro station in April, he was confronted by members of the group, who contacted the police to arrest him.
Deans, of Rodin Avenue, South Shields, who has no previous convictions, admitted attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming.
A judge said it is unclear whether the cancer in his brain, which resulted in a two year hospital stay and more than a decade of treatment, could have led to his illegal behaviour, which those who know him say is hugely out of character.
Prosecutor Michael Bunch told the court Deans had got in touch with the fake profile shortly after it was set up and engaged in ‘flirty’ conversation which became sexual.
Mr Bunch said: ‘As the conversations progressed, they continued to have sexual overtones, essentially containing clear sexual requests and topics, raised on each occasion by the defendant asking about having sex, making requests as to what would happen if the two met up.
‘Eventually, an agreement was made whereby the two would meet in order to have contact.
‘The intentions expressed by the defendant was for them to have sexual contact, most likely sexual intercourse.’
The court heard Deans appeared to get ‘cold feet’ shortly before the meeting and said to ‘Katie’ ‘if you don’t want to do anything, we don’t have to’.
As a result of information surrounding the meeting being leaked online, the court heard Deans and his family have been subjected to abuse and even death threats.
Judge Robert Adams sentenced Deans to six months imprisonment, suspended for two years, with rehabilitation and sex offender programme requirements.
Dean was ordered to sign the Sex Offenders Register and abide by a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for seven years.
The judge told him: ‘It became very clear you intended to meet her in due course for sexual purposes.
‘That was in spite of being told she was only 15. Your conversations had sexual overtures, with discussion about sexual activity.
‘In due course an agreement was made to meet for the purpose of sexual contact.
‘What was going to happen was not entirely clear but you accept that was your purpose in meeting this person.’
The judge said he had read a number of references to Deans’ ordinarily positive character, written by people who are ‘appalled and disgusted’ by his behaviour.
Judge Adams added: ‘You suffered, sadly, from cancer aged seven, you had a brain tumour and spent two years in hospital.
‘You received treatment until the age of 18, it was long-term treatment. Whether or not that injury to your brain has resulted in this sort of behaviour, I know not.’
The judge said a phone call made by a woman linked to Guardians of the North on the day of the arranged meeting may have been ‘pretty close to entrapment’ but there was no suggestion of Deans being encouraged during the sexual converstations.