A worried dad helped police catch a sexual predator by posing as his 10-year-old daughter online, a court has heard.
Wayne Corkhill was on bail waiting to be sentenced for a string of sex offences when he made contact with the young girl on Facebook.
The 23-year-old, of Lord Street, Blackpool, tried to befriend his victim and invited her round to his flat for “cuddles” as well as telling her she was gorgeous.
But Corkhill was unaware he was actually messaging the girl’s father, who later made a complaint to police, it emerged yesterday at Preston Crown Court.
He was given an extended sentence of six years and seven months behind bars after pleading guilty to five charges of sexual activity with a child, plus two of meeting a child following sexual grooming and one of attempting to a meet a child following grooming.
The most recent offences took place in June, the same month he pleaded guilty to sexual activity with a 13-year-old girl.
Sue Carter, prosecuting, said his behaviour with the 13-year-old began with kissing and progressed to touching.
He pleaded guilty to the offences, which occurred last year, and was on bail awaiting sentencing when he met up with two girls, aged 11 and 12.
The girls met up with him for a brief period in Blackpool after school.
Corkhill was smoking and he walked with them towards the chip shop where he worked.
He met up with them a second time near Central Pier, where he is said to have hugged them both.
The court heard he then touched the leg of one of the girls.
He contacted one of them online to say that she and her friend should go to his house and have sex, said Miss Carter.
Around this time, he made contact with the 10-year-old on Facebook, prompting the girl’s dad to exchange messages with Corkhill while pretending to be his daughter.
“He made it clear she was 10,” Miss Carter said. “The defendant said she was gorgeous and asked her to go to his flat for cuddles and gave her his telephone number.”
He went on to claim to police that his Facebook account must have been hacked into.
Waheed Omran-Baber, defending, said the girls had suffered pain, hurt and anxiety.
He said: “There was a degree of naively and immaturity in his actions.
“There were, however, no threats, violence or intimidation by him.
“The defendant accepts what he has done is wrong. He expresses remorse.”
Judge Robert Altham told the defendant he had clearly had the most serious sexual interest towards girls and said an extended sentence was necessary for the protection of the public.
He added: “I have no doubt that had he been left to his own devices these girls would have suffered extremely serious harm at his hands.”
Corkhill will be on the sex offenders register for life.
A sexual offences prevention order will apply indefinitely.
He will serve half his term behind bars before being released on extended licence for eight years.
The case comes as police have launched a week-long high profile campaign to combat child exploitation.
Officers will this week be visiting vulnerable youngsters, helping responsible adults to spot the warning signs of abuse and visiting known offenders to ensure they are staying out of trouble.