November 2018

Paedophile hunters confront Osmaston Park Road pervert who groomed child

A Derby man has appeared in court after being confronted by a paedophile hunting group.

Robert Cotton, of Osmaston Park Road, pleaded guilty to attempting to cause a child to watch sexual activity; attempting to incite sexual activity and attempting to meet following sexual grooming.

Nottingham Crown Court heard how the group went to Robert Cotton’s home after he had been having sexual conversations with what he believed was a 14-year-old boy online.

The man, pretending to be the boy, had been on one particular website when he met Cotton.

He immediately told the 31-year-old, who had never been in trouble with the law before, that he was 14.

But this didn’t stop Cotton from discussing sexual matters with him and sending over a video of a male performing a sexual act.

After only five days of chatting online, the group confronted Cotton at his then address in Sutton-in-Ashfield on August 21.

The court heard how Cotton had already spent a brief spell in custody. His lawyer, Jon Hullis, mitigating, said he had been remanded and “it was a difficult time and will stay with him”.

Judge Stuart Rafferty QC told Cotton: “I have absolutely no doubt the six days in custody must have been the longest days of your life.

“I am satisfied that if I locked you up you would be eaten alive literally by the people in custody and would come out a far more damaged person in a number of ways than you are now. That seems to me to be an important factor in the case”.

He imposed a sexual harm prevention order for ten years and ordered he sign the sex offenders’ register for five years.

Cotton was given a three-year community order, 30 rehabilitation activity days and instructed he go on a sex offender programme.

The judge concluded the defendant has difficulties understanding things in the way others do and difficulties understanding the seriousness of things as others would.

But he stressed that what he did was wrong and demonstrated a degree of slyness, telling him in the dock “you went to the length of ensuring his account was taken offline so only you had access to him”.