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Man admits trying to meet a 14-year-old girl for sex – because his girlfriend was ‘busy’

This is the moment paedophile hunters hold a pervert to the ground before he tells them he arranged to meet a child for sex because his girlfriend was busy.

Stuart Burnett travelled 25 miles from his home in Billingham, on Teesside, to Sunderland after arranging to see who he thought was a 14-year-old while her parents were out of the house.

But he had been duped by an online decoy and instead of meeting the girl, he was greeted by members of undercover group Guardians of the North, who filmed the confrontation.

During a struggle he was led to to one of the paedophile hunters’ cars where he told them: ‘I did not want to come here. I was going to see my girlfriend.

‘I did not go and see my girlfriend because she was busy with someone else.’

The defendant had earlier sent the decoy two pictures of his genitals before agreeing to meet her for sex.

The 35-year-old was detained by the paedophile hunting group at a shopping centre in Sunderland in November last year.

Teesside Crown Court heard how the defendant had even messaged the girl on his way to the illicit meet-up to make sure he wasn’t being ‘set-up’.

Ian West, prosecuting, said he started talking to the decoy believing she was 18 but his sexual grooming continued after she told him that she was only actually 14.

He said a volunteer from the group had set up the fake profile for ‘Louise’ in a bid to catch deviants and Burnett soon started sending sexually explicit messages.

Mr West added: ‘He explained that he will teach her sexual matters in the bedroom and then explained about the acts that he will engage in.

‘He suggested that they meet, she tells him her parents will be out of the house she lives in and arrangements are made to travel to Sunderland to her house.’

Within minutes of Burnett arriving in Sunderland he had been detained by the volunteers and arrested by police before make a full confession in interview.

Burnett, of Billingham, pleaded guilty to one charge of attempting to meet a child under 16 following sexual grooming and two charges of taking part in sexual conversations with a child.

Chris Morrison, in mitigation, said his client was of previous good character and had been married for 15 years before being caught in the ‘sting’. 

He said: ‘His remorse is palpable and equally the fear and trepidation he has come here with today is tangible.’

The court heard how Burnett had resigned from his job at Fedex due to the shame of his arrest and was now a full-time carer for his elderly father-in-law.

Urging the judge to suspend his client’s prison sentence, he added: ‘Prison will be the ruin of him; he is not of robust temperament.’

Judge Jonathan Carroll branded Burnett ‘devious’ for arranging to meet the teenager behind her parents backs.

He said: ‘The moment that line appeared on your phone that she was only 14 was the moment you should have immediately desisted engaging and said ‘I can’t talk to you because you’re under 16′ – but you didn’t.’

The judge passed a two year sentence, suspended for two years and given a sexual harm prevention order for five years.

Barnett was also ordered to observe a three month curfew between 8pm and 8am and carry out 50 rehabilitation activity requirement days to address his behaviour.

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