Halifax sex offender ensnared by ‘paedophile hunters’

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A paedophile who travelled 170 miles from Halifax to Luton expecting to meet a 13-year-old girl for sex was jailed yesterday (Thursday) for two years and eight months.

John Hanson, 55, had booked a hotel for sex with the underage girl who he believed was called Jessica Walters.

But when he arrived at Luton railway station he was confronted by Katie and Neil Ivall who target paedophiles.

They called the police and he was arrested, Luton crown court heard.

Hanson, of Shaw Lodge, Shaw Hill, Halifax, appeared for sentence having pleaded guilty to attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming.

Prosecutor Michael Speak said Mrs Ivall set up the fake Facebook account in the name of Jessica Walters, stating she was just 13 years old.

Hanson began grooming her over Facebook on July 10. Conversations became sexual and he told he had paid parents in Thailand and Cambodia £10 for sex with their daughters.

He asked the fictitious Jessica sexual questions and sent her a photograph of what he said was his penis and directed her to porn sites.

“He booked a hotel room for Saturday July 16 telling the girl it cost him £120. He made it clear they would have sexual activity including penetrative sex. He wanted her to call him dad, “ said Mr Speak.

Hanson had also asked the hotel if his daughter could join him overnight in the room.

Defending, Stefan Weidmann said: “He is grappling with what he has done. For some years the defendant has struggled with depression and drink. Although he has abstained from drink since his arrest.”

He said he was in a very bad way following the death of a teenage child and had been “riddling with anxiety”.

“Since his arrest he has been isolated from his family. His brother has brought him to court and is the only one standing by him.

“Understandably, his children have turned their backs on him. He has lost absolutely everything, but is the author of his own misfortune.”

Jailing him, Judge Michael Kay QC said: “You had a well planned operation to take a 13 year old girl to a hotel to have penetrative sexual activity.”

He said Hanson must register as sex offender and abide by the terms of a sexual harm prevention order indefinitely.