Online vigilantes spring YouTube trap on paedophile

Online vigilantes spring YouTube trap on paedophile

A PAEDOPHILE from Batley was caught by vigilantes who put footage of him on YouTube, a court heard.

James Petch, pictured, did not know the 14-year-old girl named “Laura” he thought he was going to meet in Halifax was bogus and part of a trap.

Leeds Crown Court heard Petch, of Enfield Drive, Batley, was set up by the Online Paedophile Investigations group.

Footage of him was then put on the internet, after which Petch was arrested by police in March.

The 36-year-old admitted multiple sex offences and was jailed for four years and eight months.

His wrongdoing included inciting a 15-year-old girl in texts to perform sexual acts and send him her used underwear.

Petch asked her to send pictures of herself and her knickers, pairs of which were found with her DNA on them in his chest of drawers.

He also sent her suggestive photographs of himself, sometimes of him wearing women’s underwear.

The girl later told police Petch gave her lifts and paid for a top-up card for her mobile.

Patrick Palmer, prosecuting, said Petch was found to be in contact with three other girls at the time. One, who lived in  Somerset, sent him a topless picture of herself after exchanging messages about him driving down for sex.

Another, aged 15 and listed on his mobile as “Mirfield slag”, believed she was in contact with a 20-year-old called Jimmy.

He even used a photo of a boy in his late teens on a profile in a bid to hoodwink the girls.

Petch admitted 11 charges of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and four of making indecent photographs.

He also pleaded guilty to engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child, causing a child to watch a sexual act and attempting to meet a child he had groomed.

Adam Birkby, for Petch, said his client had no physical contact with the girls, had accepted his behaviour was wrong and that he needed help.

He added the offending began after he became depressed when his father died.

Mr Birkby said: “Part of the time he lived a law-abiding and settled life, but he had this dark side to him.”

In jailing Petch, Judge Tom Bayliss QC said: “You believed you were communicating with a child.

“In fact it was an adult playing you at your own game, seeking to identify a predatory man such as you.”

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