November 2018

Paedophile caught in sting sexually attacks two teenagers HOURS after being let out of jail

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A paedophile snared in an online sting went on to sexually assault two teenagers within hours of being released on bail.

Married father Neil Skelton was arrested in a park in Leyland, Lancashire, on May 1 after going to meet what he thought was a 13-year-old girl.

But when he got there just before 8.20pm his vehicle was “blocked” by members of the Facebook group Catching Online Predators, who called police and detained him until they arrived.

Claire Holmes, prosecuting in Hull Crown Court on Friday, said the sting happened after Skelton, 32, sent a Facebook “friend request” to someone he thought was a 13-year-old girl called “Jenna Worthington” on April 25.

Miss Holmes said: “She told the defendant she was 13 and the Facebook page she set up showed a date of birth consistent with her being 13 and made reference to a 13th birthday.”

They “discussed school” and Skelton “paid Jenna compliments”. He also asked her for pictures “from behind” and said he wished she was 18. “He asked about her sexual experience and if she would slap him if he touched her bottom,” Miss Holmes said.

“He asked if they could meet so he could teach her how to kiss properly.”

Skelton also sent the fictitious girl a video of people kissing and asked if she would like to do that, as well as a video of man performing a sex act on a woman, and “suggested he could do the same to her”.

Skelton sent sexual pictures he said were of him, and “asked her to send pictures of her bottom in leggings and while she was in the bath”. No pictures were sent to him.

Arranging to meet in the park, Skelton “told her not to wear knickers and said he couldn’t wait to touch her a***, and instructed her to delete messages at various stages”.

When Skelton was interviewed by police, he said the chats with “Jenna” and become sexualised and he “felt bad about it now”. But he denied having a sexual motive and said he thought they could “just be friends”.

After being remanded in custody, Skelton was released on bail by a judge in Preston and got a train back to his then-home in Gilberdyke.

Walking through a park, he came across a group including two teenage girls.

Skelton veered off towards them, laid down between the girls and sexually assaulted both of them while also trying to kiss them.

One told him: “If you touch me again I’ll call the police, you paedo.”

Sentencing Skelton on Friday, Judge Mark Bury told him: “They’d have called you that before if they knew what you’d been arrested for in Preston.”

Judge Bury said of the decision to release him bail: “I’m making no criticism of the judge who bailed you. No doubt it was presented to him as a one-off, no previous history [of that type of offending], a wife and children at home who were supportive and you were in work. But it turned out to be a poor decision.”

Skelton, now of Newport Road, North Cave, admitted attempting to meet a girl under 16 following grooming, and two sexual assaults.

Jailing Skelton for 30 months, the judge said of the sex attacks: “It’s totally unacceptable behaviour committed on two young women the very day you’d been bailed for a sexual offence by a Crown court judge.”

Skelton was made subject to a sexual harm prevention order for 10 years.