November 2018

Jail for groomer snared by police sting

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A school site manager used dating app Grindr to send explicit pictures to a “12-year-old boy” – who was actually an undercover cop.

Michael Fletcher-Flint (48), of Bonet Lane, Brinsworth, used the name Hung and Horny on Grindr and sent images of his genitals and sexual messages to “Liam”, who was actually an officer working as part of a South Yorkshire Police sting operation.

Fletcher-Flint, who was sacked from his job at Outwood Academy, Sheffield, thought he had arranged to meet the boy at a supermarket but was greeted instead by police officers and arrested.

He was jailed for two years at Sheffield Crown Court yesterday and given a five-year sexual harm prevention order.

Fletcher-Flint was tracked by cops using Grindr in various locations between August and September, including his home in Brinsworth, as well as at Outwood Academy, Ms Zaiban Alam, prosecuting, told the court.

“The defendant opened the conversation by saying, ‘You’re f***ing gorgeous. I would like to help you try other things’,” Ms Alam told the court.

“The conversation continued in a very explicit and sexual nature.”

Fletcher-Flint sent the boy images of his exposed penis and asked him to state his sexual preference.

Liam told Fletcher-Flint in reply: “I’m only 12.”

Fletcher-Flint arranged to meet the boy at Asda in Crystal Peaks, Sheffield, and waited for him in the public toilets, Ms Alam told the court.

He was arrested by officers and told them: “I wasn’t going to do anything.”

Mitigating, Ms Emma Hodgson said Fletcher-Flint’s behaviour was “out of character”.

She added: “He presents as someone who is deeply ashamed of his behaviour and racked with remorse and regret.”

Fletcher-Flint pleaded guilty to counts of attempting to engage a child in sexual communications, attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming and possession of a bladed article at an earlier hearing.

Police found a Stanley knife on him when he was arrested, however, the prosecution did not seek to link it to the other offences.

Sentencing, Judge Michael Slater said the fact Fletcher-Flint was a school site manager at the time of his offending was an “aggravating factor”.

He said: “Whilst it’s true that you weren’t involved in teaching the children, you were employed with a responsibility to ensure they came to no harm, rather than seeking out children on the internet for sexual purposes.”