Man avoids jail after sending sexually explicit messages to what he believed were 13 and 14 year old girls

Sources: Kali Lindsay for Court quotes, Child Online Safety Team

A paedophile who believed he was sending sexually explicit messages to two teenage girls has avoided jail.

Karl Johnston, 31, made contacted with a 13-year-old via an online forum in December last year but it was in fact a fake profile set up by police. Newcastle Crown Court heard how Johnston said he was 14 year old boy and sent a series of messages.

He asked ‘Are your boobs big?’ and messaged ‘I’m feeling horny’, the court heard. He also asked if they would like to have sex with him, the court heard.

Johnston then found out the profile was in fact a police sting when he was visited by officers. But while court proceedings were pending, Johnston was once again caught attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child.

The North East based child online safety team, sometimes known as “Newcastle Hunters” later set up a profile for a 14-year-old, the court heard, and Johnston made contact in between May 31 and June 3 this year. The chat involved images being shared, the court was told.

The group then confronted him in his front garden in a livestreamed sting operation, where he proceeded to deny all accusations of wrongdoing, but the messages were enough to prove his denials were less than honest.

On sentencing, Recorder Dapinder Singh said: “You stated you didn’t think it was a sting.”

Johnston, of Beaconsfield Street, Newcastle, pleaded guilty to two counts of attempting sexual communications with a child. He was given a 12-month prison sentence suspended for two years.