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News Round-Up Week Ending 30.9.16

(Posted on 30/09/16)


Vigilante Group Nets Paedophile:

The Teesside Gazette reported this week on the trial of Mark Thornton.

Thornton, 50, believed he was speaking to two 13-year-old girls via social media to arrange to meet up with them for sex. In fact, the girls did not exist, and he was really speaking to an “operative” from the Dark Justice group, which aims to catch online predators. 

Arranging to meet ‘a girl’ in a Darlington supermarket car park, Thornton was instead confronted by a man from Dark Justice. The organisation contacted the police and Thornton was arrested.

Thornton admitted two charges of attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity and two of attempting to meet a child for sexual activity. Recorder Richard Wright QC told Thornton he had sexual conversations with the supposed girls believing they were 13.

“You plainly knew that was their age. There was no attempt to pretend that they were older. You believed you were grooming those children. You have plainly a sexual interest in children and that is deeply concerning.

“There were in fact no children exposed to risk by your behaviour because there was no child for you to meet. I’m sentencing you essentially for what was in your mind and what you intended to do had you managed to get your hands on a child. That doesn’t diminish the seriousness of your offending.”

The judge said Thornton posed a risk to children, jailing him for two years and ordering him to be placed on the sex offenders’ register for 10 years.