A PERVERT who had been trawling the internet in a bid to find an under-age girlfriend was caught after contacting a decoy profile.
Thinking he had made contact with a willing 13-year-old called Sienna, Craig Withey turned up to meet her in a Warwick park with a blanket on which he planned to have sex with her.
But she did not exist, and instead he was met by members of a vigilante group who had placed the fake profile online.
The 31-year-old pleaded guilty at Warwick Crown Court to two charges of attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity and two of attempting to incite girls to view indecent images he had sent of himself.
And after an adjournment for a schedule to be prepared, he asked for eight further offences of attempting to incite other girls to engage in sexual activity to be taken into consideration.
Withey, of St Michaels Road, Warwick, was jailed for 20 months by Judge Peter Cooke who also ordered him to register as a sex offender for ten years.
At an earlier hearing prosecutor Sophie Murray said during online chats with two 13-year-old girls called Sienna and Sami, he asked them to send him intimate pictures, and sent them indecent images of himself.
In February Withey asked Sienna to meet him in St Nicholas Park in Warwick, turning up with a blanket with the intention of having sex with her.
But Sienna was a fake profile posted by members of a vigilante group who confronted Withey and contacted the police.
Following his arrest the police found chat logs on his phone which Judge Cooke said revealed he had been in contact with a number of other girls – and it was at the judge’s insistence that the list of other offences was prepared.
Lee Masters, defending, said Withey was remorseful. He pointed out no children had come into contact with Withey – who had also used his own name and photograph, and was not pretending to be someone younger than he was – and there had been no indecent images of children on his computer.
Jailing Withey, Judge Cooke told him: “You were trawling to find a girlfriend. It is quite clear to me that your clear intention was to engage in sexual activity with any of these girls who proved to be willing.
“If you had established communication with a real girl, the probation service has no doubt, and I have no doubt, you would have followed it through with sexual activity.
“As it stands, you represent a high degree of risk to girls in that age bracket.”