A PERVERT from Leamington who tried to persuade a 13-year-old girl he had met over the internet to take part in sex acts had a shock when the ‘girl’ turned out to be an undercover police officer.
Despite that, in the face of the clear evidence against him, Richard Douglas denied attempting to cause or incite a child to engage in sexual activity.
A judge at Warwick Crown Court heard that even after his conviction following a trial earlier this month, a pre-sentence report showed the 49-year-old still believed he had done nothing wrong.
And explaining why he was not passing a suspended prison sentence, Deputy Judge Richard Griffith-Jones said ‘ingrained perversity may require longer than two years’ treatment.’
Douglas, of Eden Court, Mason Avenue, was given a three-year community order – with conditions of taking part in a sex offenders’ programme and a rehabilitation activity.
The jury had heard between the end of September and mid-October last year Douglas had been involved in exchanging on-line messages with someone he believed to be a 13-year-old girl.
He groomed her in a ‘despicable and chilling’ manner as he sought to manipulate her into taking part in sexual activity including intercourse.
But he was never going to succeed, because the person on the other end of the chat was a member of a police team who moved in and arrested him.
Richard Davenport, defending, said although Douglas’s employment as a night manager meant he did not have contact with children at work, he could lose his job as a result of the conviction.
Judge Griffith-Jones told Douglas: “You may find it difficult to face up to the enormity of what you did.
“You are an intelligent man. You have led a life which has meant you have been employed, but also a life in which I sense a degree of social isolation.
“You will have to face up to the reality of what you did, otherwise there is a real risk you will sink back into the same pit and do it again.
“In one sense you were a lucky man, because it is reasonably possible this was your first venture into this sort of perverse engagement.”
“Because the ideas you have may be ingrained, I am going to impose a community order, the purpose of which is to reduce the risk that you will ever do something like this again.”