April 2007

Internet pervert preyed on young girls

A MAN branded a predatory paedophile’ has been jailed for three years.

Nicholas Hughes lured teenage girls he groomed in Internet chatrooms to Warrington’s Cockhedge shopping centre, hoping to live out his sexual fantasies with them.

He also downloaded hundreds of child porn pictures on his computer, some involving toddlers as young as 12-months-old.

Warrington Crown Court heard on Monday how Hughes, 30, of Top Road, Kingsley, trawled MSN Face Party’ chatrooms disguised as Dirty Cheshire Boy’.

Hughes admitted four counts of meeting a child following sexual grooming and 12 counts of making indecent images.

He also admitted sex with two other girls within days of their 16th birthdays.

Peter Moss, prosecuting, said Hughes looked for girls who lived near his home or his place of work in Warrington.

“He started off chatting about hobbies and music then discussions turned sexual,” Mr Moss said.

Some agreed to meet him because, Mr Moss said, they saw him as relatively harmless and failed to appreciate how serious he was’.

He snared his first victim, a 14-year-old, after her friend provided her with his contact details.

“They would speak on mobiles during school breaks and evenings for as long as 90 minutes a day,” Mr Moss said. “He would ask her about boyfriends and her sexual experience.”

Hughes arranged to meet her in Warrington on February 4, last year but his plans were ruined when she brought a friend. The girl texted Hughes to say she had changed her mind.

Hughes contacted four other girls aged between 12 and 14 years in this way, making lewd comments about their bodies and what he wanted to do to them.

Judge Stephen Clarke said a disturbing feature of the case was the girls’ willingness to share their personal details with him and pass his onto other friends.

“Girls aged 13 and 14 are not as old as they like to think. They did not realise what they were getting in to,” he said.

Suspicious parents raised the alarm and police officers who raided his house on April 11, last year found computers containing 357 indecent images of children, aged between two and 14 years, and pornographic magazines with schoolgirl themes.

Judge Clarke said Hughes had an unhealthy interest in girls just reaching puberty’ and that his behaviour was dictated by wanting to act out his fantasises with them.

Hughes was ordered to attend an Internet sex offender programme upon his release, banned from ever working with children and ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register for life.