An army veteran has been jailed after inviting a “13-year-old girl” to his house so they could shower together and he could “teach her how to kiss”.
Colin Brown, 43, called the police himself when a group of people turned up outside his property on July 2, 2020 – the group were in fact a team of ‘paedophile hunters’ who were there to call the police on Brown.
Preston Crown Court heard how on June 18, 2020, Brown started messaging who he thought was a 13-year-old girl, but was in fact a member of the group who ‘identify sexual predators by acting as security and decoys’ – branding themselves as ‘hunters’.
Prosecuting, Alison Mather said the woman set up a profile pretending to be a teenager, with Brown initiating contact.
The woman continued to speak with Brown, saying she was a “13-year-old girl” yet he continued to message the fake account.
Ms Mather said: “They discussed matters like what she was wearing, and he asked for pictures of boobs.
“He sent her photos of his chest on WhatsApp. He said he wanted to teach her how to kiss properly with tongues.
“He asked about the size of her breasts and that he would like to touch her vagina and breasts.”
Ms Mather said Brown invited the ‘girl’ to his home, saying he wanted to shower with her, ‘touch her naked body and teach her how to kiss’.
Brown also sent a message asking the girl to perform an act of penetration on herself.
The conversation was then sent on to the group who decided if there was enough evidence for the matter to be taken to the police, and they went to his home on July 2.
PC Hartley said he attended to a call from the defendant about a group of people being verbally abusive.
But upon the officer’s arrival, the group informed them of the activity and Brown was arrested.
Brown denied all charges and pleaded not guilty until the first day of his trial when he admitted what he had done.
Mitigating, James Heyworth said Brown was an army veteran who had served two tours, at least one of which was in Iraq.
He had no previous convictions and struggles with his mental health, having been diagnosed with PTSD following his discharge from the army.
The doctor who concluded the diagnosis of PTSD said however, that he could not link the diagnosis with the criminal activity of Brown.
Mr Heyworth said: “He is an armed forces veteran who during the lockdown of 2020 was engaged in behaviour which is totally out of character.
“Before this, he was a man of good character in both the legal sense and out in the community.”
Mr Heyworth added the defendant struggled with alcohol and that he accepts the gravitas of his wrongdoing.
Sentencing, Judge Richard Archer said Brown had a “warped” way of thinking and that only a custodial sentence was appropriate.
Judge Archer said: “By your admission, you genuinely believed this was a 13-year-old girl.
“The conversation progressed as it did to include an invitation that you shower together, that she be naked in front of you, that you – 30 years her senior – teach her ‘how to kiss’.
“It indicates a very warped thinking and the likely harm that you intended, had your victim really been 13.”
Brown, of Gibraltar Road, Halifax, West Yorkshire, but formerly of Kingfisher Court, Oswaldtwistle, was jailed for three years and seven months, and will be subject to both sexual offence notification requirements and a sexual harm prevention order indefinitely.
He previously pleaded guilty to attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child under 16, attempting to incite a child under 16 to engage in a sexual act, attempting to incite a child under 16 to engage in a penetrative act and attempting to arrange the commission of a child sex offence.