Fleetwood paedophile branded "dirty old man" by judge after being caught in online chatroom sting

A paedophile trapped in a covert online police operation was branded a "dirty old man" by a judge in Preston.
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David Hall was arrested after he tried to lure who he thought was a 13-year-old girl into a sexual relationship through an internet chatroom.

The 57-year-old believed he was also talking to the girl's mother during a bizarre series of exchanges on a porn chat site called XHamster.

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But he was unwittingly exchanging messages with specialist detectives trying to smoke out adults who prey on vulnerable youngsters.

The man appeared at Preston Crown Court.The man appeared at Preston Crown Court.
The man appeared at Preston Crown Court.

Hall pleaded guilty at the city's Crown Court to attempting to engage in sexual communications with a child and was given a nine month prison sentence suspended for two years by Judge Simon Medland.

The judge told him: "Children are exactly that (children). They are entitled to be protected.

"They are not sex objects or playthings for the minds of dirty old men."

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The court heard Hall had made contact on social media with what he believed was a young girl called Grace and her mum Danni. They were fictitious identities created by police officers to see if anyone would contact them for sexual conversations.

Prosecuting barrister David Clarke told the judge the case was "slightly unusual" in that it involved police pretending to be a mother with a 13-year-old child.

Before long the mum was contacted by a man calling himself "Big and Ready, haha." They exchanged messages and Hall quickly started asking about her family and, in particular, the young girl she called "Princess."

After a while the conversation became "very sexualised." Mr Clarke said: "He (Hall) made it clear that, with the assistance of the mother, he would like to meet and have intercourse with both the mother and child.

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"He was very keen for the child to take part in the chat and eventually police introduced the fictitious youngster to the conversation."

It was claimed Hall wanted to exchange photographs of both him and the 13-year-old each performing a sex act. But police then decided to bring the conversation to a halt and move in.

Hall was arrested at his home in Blakiston Street, Fleetwood where officers seized several devices, one a mobile phone which had been used for the conversations. The court was told he had no previous convictions.

Defence barrister Jacob Dyer said: "Thankfully there was no child involved. He (Hall) has refrained from visiting these sites since his arrest.

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"He has strayed and he has a problem and a sexual interest in this type of activity. He had an addiction to a wide range of material.

"He is (now) embarking on a journey of acceptance. He has pleaded guilty. At the time he was communicating this was genuine - he has to accept that."

Judge Medland said Hall had made the decision himself to enter into conversations with what he believed were a mother and her 13-year-old daughter.

"He knows that children are not to be regarded as sexual objects, yet he decided to do that and went quite a long way down that path.”

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Addressing Hall he said: "You went quite a long way into developing this into what you thought was reality. You have now lost your good character because of your own actions."

In addition to the suspended prison sentence Hall was ordered to do 20 days of rehabilitation activities and was fined £600. He will be the subject of a sex offenders' notification order for the next 10 years and also a sexual harm prevention order for 10 years.