The moment a paedophile was trapped

GOTCHA: Still from video footage taken by the vigilante group Stinson Hunter of the moment they trapped paedophile Lee Middleton

GOTCHA: Still from video footage taken by the vigilante group Stinson Hunter of the moment they trapped paedophile Lee Middleton

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Senior reporter. Call me on (01865) 425373

THIS is the moment vigilante paedophile hunters snared an internet predator who was trying to groom teenage girls.

Lee Middleton was jailed for three years yesterday after he was twice caught by “stings” when he planned to meet children after chatting to them online.

In fact the 40-year-old was communicating with members of a group called Stinson Hunter, which uses “decoys” posing as teenagers to target potential abusers.

Matthew Walsh, prosecuting, said Middleton, of Moorbank, Blackbird Leys, Oxford, used the Bandoo messenger service to try to groom who he thought were two girls during August last year.

He told Judge Ian Pringle the defendant first believed he was in contact with a 13-year-old named Jodie – sending pictures of himself naked and arranging a meeting in Nuneaton.

But when he arrived, Middleton was confronted and filmed by the vigilante group, as well as being arrested after they passed evidence to the police.In a video posted on YouTube he is asked by the group if he thinks what he’s done is acceptable and tells them: “No comment, I’ve got nothing to say to you mate.”

Mr Walsh told the court while on bail the former warehouse worker tried to meet another girl, who he thought was 15, but he was again fooled by the vigilantes, who contacted the police.

At an earlier hearing Middleton pleaded guilty to two counts of attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming and one count of attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity.

Passing sentence, Judge Pringle said while there had not been a victim in the case, he told the defendant this was “not for want of you trying”.

He made Middleton subject to a sexual offences prevention order and said he will be on the sex offenders’ register for at least 10 years.

After the sentencing, group founder Stinson Hunter said Middleton’s sentence was the best he had seen out of the 12 convictions the group had been responsible for since January last year.

He said: “When he turned up, he was unrepentant. He is a dangerous guy and that’s a really good result. I am really quite chuffed. It is the best result we have had.”

The Warwickshire-based man added: “He got in touch with me. We set up a profile as a girl and then we wait for people to message us.

“In Lee Middleton’s case we told him how old we were and he carried on talking. He did say some explicit things and sent indecent images.”

He said the group had spoken to Oxfordshire men online while posing as underage girls. But he said Middleton was the only one to have agreed to meet up.

He added: “The internet is a dangerous place and parents need to watch what their children are doing. These people are out there and they will try to take advantage of your children.”

CATCHING ONLINE PREDATORS

STINSON Hunter’s Facebook account has more than 124,000 people following his work in catching online predators.
On the page, he says: “I work online with a group of friends catching people who attempt to either meet or groom underage children for sex.”
Mr Hunter, who has now changed his name, started talking to men posing as an underage girl in 2009 as an experiment.
But he said he started arranging meetings and filming them when he realised how bad the problem was.
He says he never approaches anyone online – he and his team set up a profile and wait for people to contact them.
He also says the men are immediately told how old the girl is.
Michael Parkes, 45, was confronted and filmed by Stinson Hunter in May last year and killed himself after police questioned him.

 

Our top stories:

Cyclists warned: Don't be dimwits

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Saturday 25th October 2014

BIKE safety campaigners have warned that cyclists are risking their lives, after an Oxford Mail survey found more than half of them were riding without lights.

Football match in Banbury stopped after bottle was thrown towards the referee

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

5:18pm Saturday 25th October 2014

A FOOTBALL match was abandoned this afternoon after a bottle was thrown onto the pitch.

Extra hour tonight! Celebrate with top bands at unique Oxford gig

Oxford Mail:

1:40pm Saturday 25th October 2014

With an extra hour to enjoy - or recover with - tonight is the perfect night to celebrate one of Oxford's biggest nights of music

FOOTBALL: Rose wants to keep Oxford United climbing

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Saturday 25th October 2014

Danny Rose is targeting a move into mid-table today as Oxford United visit Carlisle United in search of a third win in eight days.

Shhh... silent film is a reel hit with movie buffs

Oxford Mail:

9:30am Saturday 25th October 2014

FILM buffs were given a taste of how movies used to be watched as they turned out for a silent screening in Witney.

Update: Oxford University student Isobel Priest is found safe and well

Oxford Mail:

8:49am Saturday 25th October 2014

Police have said the 21-year-old Oxford University student who was reported missing has been found safe and well.

Runaway emu killed after crash with car

Oxford Mail: Thames Valley Police logo

8:40am Saturday 25th October 2014

AN EMU escaped from a garden in Boar’s Hill and died after being hit by a car, Thames Valley Police said yesterday.

Off and running for entry to our OX5 extravaganza

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Saturday 25th October 2014

THE starting gun has been fired for next year’s Oxford Mail OX5 Run as places open for runners in the fundraising extravaganza.

West Way supporters 'bullied into silence'

Oxford Mail: vale of white horse logo

8:30am Saturday 25th October 2014

THE developers behind the proposed £100m Botley regeneration scheme have claimed some of their supporters have been “bullied into silence”.

Fashion Week: First male Face of Oxford a front-runner from start

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Saturday 25th October 2014

IT was a case of right place and right time for this year’s Face of Oxford.

F1 team must be sold before staff can return

Oxford Mail: IN THE RUNNING: Richard Pardon’s photograph of Caterham F1 team engineers in Oxfordshire

7:30am Saturday 25th October 2014

STAFF at Caterham F1 have been told not to return to the team’s West Oxfordshire base until it is sold.

Royals and residents join to mourn a popular Duke

Oxford Mail:

7:00am Saturday 25th October 2014

FAMILY, friends and schoolchildren paid their final respects to the 11th Duke of Marlborough at his funeral in Woodstock yesterday.

Bowl-ed over by green cup to drink tea in style

Oxford Mail:

6:40am Saturday 25th October 2014

IT may be Britain’s favourite beverage, but leave your mugs at home for this new exhibition showing how to drink tea in style.

Flooding victims told they won't be left out of pocket

Oxford Mail: Burst water main closes Lower Hall Lane in Chingford

6:30am Saturday 25th October 2014

FLOOD-HIT residents will not have to pay two sets of council tax after water bosses pledged to foot extra costs.

Send us your news, pictures and videos

Most read stories

Local Info

Enter your postcode, town or place name

About cookies

We want you to enjoy your visit to our website. That's why we use cookies to enhance your experience. By staying on our website you agree to our use of cookies. Find out more about the cookies we use.

I agree