August 2019

Young mum turned detective to snare sexual predator

A young mum turned detective and helped to expose a dangerous sexual predator who hijacked her social media profile.

Kirk Gibson, formerly of Kendal and Carnforth, used Alice Rutherford-Hyde’s name and images she posted online as he created a fake profile and posed as a female to groom a vulnerable 15-year-old girl over several weeks.

Miss Rutherford-Hyde first learned Gibson, 31, had stolen her identity when the girl – whom she did not know – contacted her out of the blue. The teen was oblivious she had been coaxed into illegal online chat.

The plucky 23-year-old delicately maintained a dialogue with the girl, alerting her family and police before the child and Gibson – a previously convicted sex offender – could meet. Miss Rutherford-Hyde also courageously struck up internet chat with Gibson, who disclosed his photo and phone number.

Gibson, of Pategill Road, was arrested, admitted child sex crimes and was jailed for six years in May.

The sentencing judge ruled Miss Rutherford-Hyde, of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, should receive an official commendation after her “alertness, diligence and persistence enabled a dangerous sex offender to be identified and exposed”.

The mum-of-one, whose second child is due next month, received the award during a Carlisle Crown Court ceremony. “I was horrified and felt sick to my stomach,” Miss Rutherford-Hyde said of Gibson’s devious offending.

She was “surprised” by the commendation, and modestly added of her amateur online investigation: “I still don’t think I did anything more than anybody else should have done. I’m glad it had a good ending.”

During the court ceremony, Judge James Adkin said: “By her determination and public spiritedness, she saved that victim from potentially significant, long-term trauma, and for that she should be rightly praised and rewarded.”

In 2012, Gibson, while living at Appleby Road in Kendal, was convicted of having sex with a vulnerable 14-year-old girl. Latterly he lived at Scotland Road, Carnforth.

Jail for sexual ‘predator’ from Penrith

A convicted sex offender from Cumbria took advantage of a vulnerable teen by using a social media website to pose as somebody else.

Kirk Gibson, 31, hijacked a legitimate user’s personal profile, claiming he was another young girl, so he could get online access to his 15-year-old victim, Carlisle Crown Court heard.

The unsuspecting youngster was subjected to weeks of grooming, during which he persuaded the child to share intimate personal images, prosecutor Jon Close told the court.

The social media website involved was designed for people aged between 14 and 18. The targeted child was vulnerable and battling with mental health problems, said Mr Close.

As part of the deception, the court heard Gibson, living in Penrith at the time, claimed to introduce the boyfriend into the conversation of the woman he was posing as.

At one stage, the girl spoke of wanting a family and of her plans to go to a school prom. The defendant suggested meeting at the event – and then “secretly” having sex afterwards. Gibson’s offences came to light when the woman who actually owned the identity he had hijacked found out, and contacted police.

He admitted four offences: inciting a child to engage in sexual activity; sexual communication with a child; encouraging or commissioning distribution of indecent images; and breaching his Sexual Harm Prevention Order. In court, his address was given as Scotland Road, Carnforth.

Judge Peter Davies jailed him for six years.

In 2012, GIbson was convicted of having sex with a vulnerable 14-year-old girl.

Then living at Appleby Road, Kendal, he was arrested after members of the girl’s family became worried about her spending time with him

He had used Facebook social networking site, asking her to have sex with him.

The jury heard how, after his arrest, police examined his computer and offices found that he had been looking for information on the internet about what would the likely punishment was for a man who had had sex with an under-age girl.

May 2012

Kendal man found guilty of having sex with vulnerable teenager

A pervert from Kendal has been held in prison after being found guilty of having sex with a vulnerable 14-year-old girl.

Kirk Gibson, 23, of Appleby Road, was also ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register following the jury’s unanimous verdict at the end of his trial at Carlisle Crown Court.

During the trial the court heard how Gibson was arrested after members of the girl’s family became worried about her relationship with him.

The first suspicion that Gibson was having a sexual with the girl came when she sent text messages about it to her aunt, the evidence showed.

At about the same time Gibson had been sending the girl messages on the Facebook social networking site, asking her to have sex with him.

He admitted having sex with her, but insisted he believed she was aged at least 16 – the legal age of consent.

But the jury heard how, after his arrest, police examined his computer they found he had been seeking information on the internet about what would the punishment was for a man who had had sex with an under-age girl.

Gibson pleaded not guilty to two charges of sexual activity with the girl.

The jury heard that though the girl had later become pregnant, the prosecution accepted that Gibson was not the father.