A lorry driver who attempted to meet a 14-year-old for sex but was instead snared by a ‘paedophile hunter’ has been jailed for two years.
Married father-of-two Nigel Stonebridge, 58, of Western Way, Sandy, joined a social media chatroom called ‘Young Girls Date Old Men’ and sent a series of sickening messages to what he thought was a teenage girl called Katie May.
But after arranging a meet in central London on September 14 last year, Stonebridge was confronted by police officers, arrested and told that he had actually been messaging a man from a vigilante ‘paedophile hunter’ group called Public Justice PHL.
Last Friday Luton Crown Court was told that in a police interview Stonebridge told officers: “I know what I have done but I do not know what I have done”.
Michael Speak, prosecuting, told the hearing that the 58-year-old first approached the ‘girl’ online and spent nine days sending her detailed and graphic sexual messages.
In one he told ‘her’ that he would tie her up and have sex with her.
Stonebridge pleaded guilty to attempting to meet a child following grooming and attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity.
In mitigation Graham Knight, defending, said: “Some of the content of the messaging he would not have carried out in real life, much of what he said may have been practically impossible but that is not to say he doesn’t accept his guilt.
“It seems to be that he was in a terrible spiral of anxiety which had been undiagnosed.
“It is highly unlikely he will be before the courts again.”
Mr Knight added that while Stonebridge had been having marital problems “it is now really starting to get back on track”.
Judge Richard Foster sentenced the 58-year-old to two years in prison, half of which he will serve on licence.
Stonebridge was also made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order.