A man who turned up to meet who he thought was a 13-year-old girl for sex has been jailed after he was greeted and filmed by online child protection team Guardians of the North
Darren Heywood, 46, contacted the Facebook profile of ‘Becka Johnson’, believing she was a young teenager.
But the account had been set up by Guardians of the North in an attempt to snare those seeking sexual activity with children.
Durham Crown Court heard how Heywood messaged ‘Becka’ to say she was his ‘special girl’ but told her to keep it secret.
David Lamb, prosecuting, told the court how Heywood told Becka that he would love to be the first person to make love to her.
Mr Lamb said: ‘He went on to ask if she’s ever had sex before and asked her if she would ever sleep with an older man if he has protection.
‘He suggested kissing may lead one thing into another and again suggested that if he had protection would Becka sleep with him.
‘He indicated to her that he would show her every sexual position possible and treat her like a woman, calling her his sexy baby, adding she had one sexy little body.’
Mr Lamb told the court how Heywood started talking to the profile on January 15 and organised to meet the ‘girl’ 16 days later on January 28.
Heywood bought a train ticket from his home in Stockton-on-Tees and travelled to Seaham, County Durham, where he was confronted by members of Guardians of the North and later arrested by police.
Mr Lamb said: ‘He admitted being responsible for talking to the Facebook account of Becka Johnson.
‘He agreed, following suggestions from the police, he called her ‘babe’, ‘gorgeous’ and ‘sexy’. His explanation for that at the time was he was just being polite.’
Mr Lamb told the court that Heywood said he travelled to meet the girl as he didn’t believe the account to be genuine, curiosity had got the better of him and he found it exciting.
He initially ran away from Guardians of the North before being detained by them.
Heywood admitted attempting to meet a child under 16 following grooming.
Judge Christopher Prince said he did not accept Heywood was remorseful.
He said: ‘You engaged in a period of 16 days attempting to arrange a meeting and have sex with what you believed to be a 13-year-old.
‘How can you express remorse if you don’t admit there is sexual motivation behind this offending?’
Judge Prince sentenced Heywood to 16 months in prison.
He also ordered him to sign the sex offenders register for 10 years and and abide by a sexual harm prevention order.