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7th Jul, 2022

Man who wanted to meet schoolgirl for sex escapes jail

Editorial Correspondent 28th Oct, 2020 Updated: 28th Oct, 2020

A MAN who wanted to meet a 14-year-old girl for sex, and even suggested going on holiday together, has escaped being jailed.

Judge Peter Cooke did not jail David Earle after hearing the teenager did not actually exist and was a fake profile created by a vigilante group.

The judge said: “I’m doing what I’m doing not out of kindness to you, but to ensure that children face less risk of harm from you in the future.”

Earle, age 29, of Lapworth Street, Henley in Arden, pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to arranging an act which would involve sex with a 14-year-old girl.

He was given a two year suspended sentence and ordered to take part in a sex offenders’ treatment programme and rehabilitation activity, and to register as a sex offender for ten years.

Prosecutor Sophie Murray said in September last year Earle made contact with someone whose profile had appeared on a social media site.

Earle, who claimed to be 20, was told she was 14 and lived in Essex – but in fact it was a fake profile created by a vigilante group.

Undeterred by her age and talk about her school life, he asked for images of her and said he could come and see her and buy her a soft drink – but also suggested she could try some alcohol.

Earle said he wanted to cuddle her and talked about sex, telling her she could tell her mother she was out with friends.

Over the following few days his conversations continued to have a sexual undertone to them, and he talked about going on holiday with her, suggesting she could tell her mother she was going away with a friend.

“The messages continued and became more graphic. The conversation became more sexually explicit and he talked about bondage and that he would like to go to bed with her.”

After that, members of the group turned up at his home to confront him, and the police were notified, said Miss Murray.

When he was arrested, Earle commented: “I knew this day was coming.”

But he claimed he was not told she was 14 until some time later during their conversations, and that even then he had believed he was talking to an adult indulging in roleplay.

Andrew Jackson, defending, said: “There is a prospect of rehabilitation, and the probation service believe they can work with him constructively.”

Sentencing Earle, Judge Cooke told him: “You are not going to prison today – but you have come perilously close to it, and I hope you understand that.

“This is a serious matter because what you were trying to orchestrate was a sexual encounter with a girl who had made it perfectly obvious, albeit it was a decoy, that she was a schoolgirl.

“So the reality is that the act you were envisaging was wholly impossible.

“You’re a young man who has been beset with difficulties. I think you have it in you to learn very important life lessons from this and emerge from it the better as a result.

“The best prospect for reducing any danger of you committing any offence against children in the future is if you receive expert help at this stage.

“I’m doing what I’m doing not out of kindness to you, but to ensure that children face less risk of harm from you in the future. You pose a strong prospect of rehabilitation.”


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