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:

Adding extra lanes to A34 through Oxfordshire could cost £800m

Oxford Mail:

9:00am Monday 24th November 2014

PLANS to widen the A34 in both directions through Oxfordshire would cost at least £800 million, a new report has revealed.

Update: Two people cut free after cars collide on the A44 near Begbroke

Oxford Mail:

12:44pm Monday 24th November 2014

THE A44 is closed following an incident between Spring Hill Road and Sandy Lane/ Rutten Lane between Yarnton and Begbroke.

Explore today's interactive front page

Oxford Mail:

12:00pm Monday 24th November 2014

Want to explore our interactive front page? Here it is...

A44 at Wootton re-opens after accident

Oxford Mail:

9:46am Monday 24th November 2014

THE A44 near Wootton, West Oxfordshire has reopened in both directions after an accident.

Burst water main near Bicester

Oxford Mail: Thames Water logo

9:25am Monday 24th November 2014

A WATER main has burst in Stratton Audley Road, Stoke Lyne, near Bicester.

Philippa first in the queue to meet Sir Terry Wogan at Abingdon book signing

Oxford Mail:

9:10am Monday 24th November 2014

PHILIPPA Randels had met Sir Terry Wogan twice before but that didn’t stop her being at the front of the queue for a third meeting in Abingdon.

Charity salsa dancers really on a roll

Oxford Mail:

8:40am Monday 24th November 2014

AFTER 10 hours of non-stop salsa dancing, Bea Prentiss and her team could have been forgiven for wanting to take a well-earned rest.

Health workers go on strike across Oxfordshire over pay dispute

Oxford Mail:

8:37am Monday 24th November 2014

STAFF at the John Radcliffe are striking this morning in an ongoing row over pay.

Two-week gun amnesty begins in move to reduce firearm crime

Oxford Mail:

8:30am Monday 24th November 2014

GUN owners will be able to hand in their firearms without fear of prosecution for two weeks from today.

Oxfordshire NHS staff on strike over pay and privatisation moves

Oxford Mail:

8:20am Monday 24th November 2014

NHS staff including midwives, nurses, radiographers and cleaners are taking strike action today in protest over government cuts and privatisation of the health service.

Buses delayed due to heavy traffic on the A40

Oxford Mail: Traffic Alert general

8:32am Monday 24th November 2014

Buses are being delayed by heavy congestion this morning.

Housing benefit cheat ordered to pay back £2,000

Oxford Mail: oxford magistrates court

8:10am Monday 24th November 2014

A MAN who fraudulently claimed more than £820 in housing benefit and had to be arrested on a warrant will have to pay back more than £2,000.

Patients and supporters view Oxford Heart Centre’s new £1.8m hi-tech equipment

Oxford Mail:

8:00am Monday 24th November 2014

HEART patients were given a tour of a new £1.8m unit at Oxford's John Radcliffe Hospital equipped with cutting-edge technology that aims to cut down waiting times.

Musical tales at Story Museum

Oxford Mail:

7:30am Monday 24th November 2014

THERE was a nautical theme at the Story Museum in Oxford on Saturday as children and their parents listened to Nick Cope perform songs from his new album.

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