Leamington man sentenced after agreeing to meet '˜15-year-old girl'
A man must register as a sex offender after finding out a woman he was talking to online was actually aged 15 - and still agreeing to meet her.
Lewis Calder, 27, of Kingsway, Leamington, began talking to a woman on an over-18s dating website but continued their conversations and arranged to meet after being told her real age.
But in fact the girl, known as Kayla, did not even exist and Calder was the subject of a sting operation by another man.
When Calder turned up to meet the fictitious teenager, he was confronted by two men who then passed his details to the police.
Following his arrest Calder pleaded guilty to attempting to meet a child under the age of 16 following on-line grooming.
He was given a nine-month jail sentence suspended for two years after appearing at Warwick Crown Court.
He was also ordered to take part in a probation-run rehabilitation activity and must register as a sex offender for 10 years.
Prosecutor Anthony Cartin said the case resulted from “a sting operation” by a man named Simon Hudson who set up a profile on an adults-only dating website.
The profile described an woman in her 20s, and it was only after contact was made by Calder that the fictional character was ‘revealed’ to be a 15-year-old girl called Kayla.
The pair began talking via text message in August last year, and went on to exchange “banal” messages containing no sexual content, with Calder later asking her to send pictures of herself to him.
They eventually agreed to meet at Coventry railway station where he was confronted by Mr Hudson and another person who filmed him and his car.
It is not known if a real 15-year-old girl was ever used to create images or pose at the station, as Mr Hudson was not interviewed in court on his actions.
Calder admitted wrongdoing when arrested at his home shortly after the meeting, but said he had believed at first the girl was in her 20s.
William Douglas-Jones, defending, said: “He made full admissions in interview, and his remorse is shown both by that and by his letter today.
“Until these events Mr Calder was a man of good character in full-time employment as an accounts manager.
“He has a career which has upward mobility; but that career is at risk, and if he was sent to prison it would be fatal to that career.”
Passing the sentence, Recorder Adrian Redgrave QC said: “The facts of this case are highly unusual.
“This defendant made contact with the fictitious profile of a woman in her 20s, but once that approach had been made the fictitious profile was changed to a girl of 15.
“This defendant and this fictitious 15-year-old exchanged messages described as banal and exchanged photographs, none of which can be described as sexual.
“After four days of this desultory messaging, they arranged to meet, and the place chosen was about as public a venue as could have been chosen, a railway station.”
A police search of Calder’s home did not find any inappropriate material and risk of any similar conduct was considered to be low.