Police turn paedophile hunter in park sting to catch serial sex offender, 25, who groomed ’13-year-old boy’
Matthew Worthington had online sex chats with ‘Josh’ – a decoy set up by the police
Pervert Matthew Worthington was arrested in a park after he went there to meet a ‘13-year-old boy’ he had met online.
The serial sex offender was snared after police set up a fake Facebook profile claiming to be a teenage boy, who Worthington then befriended.
Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court heard Worthington was already known to authorities following his conviction for previous sex offences, and had disclosed disturbing sexual fantasies involving children to his probation officers.
Prosecutor Steven Bailey said: “An undercover officer logged into Facebook and set up a profile purporting to be a 13-year-old boy ‘Josh’. The police initiated contact with the defendant.
“Conversation ensued. It became sexual in nature at the instigation of the defendant. He said he was 15, when in fact he was 25.
“He said he liked ‘Josh’s’ profile picture and said he was pleasuring himself while they chatted. He talked about meeting for sexual activity. He reassured ‘Josh’ it would be OK despite him only being 13.”
An arrangement was made for Worthington to meet ‘Josh’ in Victoria Park, Stafford. Mr Bailey said: “The defendant went to Stafford. Before he went to the park he went to a charity shop and bought himself a change of clothes. He was in different clothing when he went to the park. The Prosecution say the inference is that was to throw anyone who was following him off the scent.
“As he was stopped and arrested he tried to throw his phone away.”
https://get.convrse.media/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.stokesentinel.co.uk%2Fnews%2Fstoke-on-trent-news%2Fpolice-turn-paedophile-hunter-park-2462217%3Futm_source%3Dtwitter.com%26utm_medium%3Dsocial%26utm_campaign%3Dsharebar&cre=center&cip=15The court heard Worthington was subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order as a result of his previous convictions. He attempted to circumvent its conditions by installing ‘masking’ software on his phone that would hide his internet searches and had also used Twitter, which he was banned from doing.
Worthington, of Marsh Street, Hanley, pleaded guilty to attempting to meet a child following grooming, and three charges of breaching a Sexual Harm Prevention Order. He also admitted a further charge of making an indecent image of a child.
Jason Holt, mitigating, said: “It’s quite clear Matthew Worthington is a troubled young man. He has had 20 years in the system – the care system has morphed into the prison system.
“These matters come before the courts because of disclosures he has made to probation officers. He must have known there would be an investigation.
“He doesn’t like what he has become and he hopes to make sure there is no repeat of this behaviour.”
Judge David Fletcher sentenced Worthington to 22 months in prison. He said: “You have undoubtedly lived an extremely troubled life.
“You are a young man who, unless you change, is going to spend more and more time in prison. If nothing else can bring home to you the sheer illegality of what you have been doing, I hope that will persuade you that you have to change. You will only do that if you are willing to take on board the assistance offered to you.”
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