An online groomer was trapped by a group of paedophile hunters after arranging to meet what he thought was a 14-year-old girl outside a cinema in Exeter.
Lewis West was seen hiding in a hedge near the Vue cinema on the Paris Street roundabout as he waited to see if the girl whom he knew as ‘Jennifer’ would turn up.
He came out of his hiding place when a young female decoy arrived but was confronted by members of the UK Database paedophile hunting group.
He had spent a week grooming the decoy and sent her a stream of sexualised messages and an indecent image. He instigated the meeting at the cinema on February 20 last year.
West was a contract worker who was staying in Ottery St Mary at the time.
West, aged 38, of Godfrey Close, Oxford, admitted attempting to meet a child following grooming, three counts of making indecent images of children, and one of possession an extreme image of bestiality.
He was ordered to undergo a 31 day sex offenders’ course and 20 days supervision during a three year community order by Judge Peter Johnson, at Exeter Crown Court on Wednesday (February 13).
He was also ordered to do 100 hours unpaid community work, was put on the sex offenders’ register for five years, and made subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order which allows the police to monitor his online activity.
Gareth Evans, prosecuting, said the fake profile of Jennifer was put online in early February last year and contact with West started on February 13.
He sent messages telling her he wanted to take part in various sex acts with her while she replied saying she was only 14, had never done anything like that, and was nervous. He brushed off her concerns, told her ‘it will be fun’ and arranged the meeting on the evening of February 20 outside the Vue cinema.
Police found 247 child abuse images on his phone, seven showing very serious abuse. There was also an indecent image involving an animal. He claimed he knew the online messages were a set-up and was playing along with it to find out who was behind it. He said he downloaded the images after smoking crack.
Pervert caught by paedophile hunting team ‘UK database’
A pervert who groomed what he believed was a 14 year old girl for sex has pleaded guilty to a number of sexual offences
Lewis West, 37 of Abingdon, Oxfordshire but who was staying in Ottery St. Mary at the time of his arrest has finally pleaded guilty to:
Sexual communication with a child
Meeting a child following sexual grooming
Inciting a child into sexual activity
Making and possession of indecent images of children
West groomed what he believed was a 14 year old girl with highly explicit sexual chat, including sending images of his private parts.
In February 2018, West arranged to meet the girl outside the VUE cinema in Exeter. The pervert parked his works van in a nearby carpark and proceeded to hide in a hedge opposite the cinema.
West then texted the girl to make sure she was at the location.
After several minutes, West came out of hiding and crossed the road to approach the entrance of the cinema to meet the girl he had groomed.
West was approached by adult members of paedophile hunting team ‘UK database‘ who pose online as children to catch sexual predators.
The team explained that the child did not exist, and was infact an adult decoy from their team
The team members questioned West on his internet activity
West admitted speaking sexually to multiple underage girls online and he also admitted possession of indecent images of children that were stored on his mobile phone.
During the chat log, he also mentioned that he had planned to have sex with the girl in his van. The van was also seized by police.
West was due to appear for trial on 8th February but due to his admitting his guilt, he will now be sentenced on 10th February 2019
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