Man jailed for attempting to groom teenage girl - Stevenage

05/05/2017

A man, who travelled by bus from Luton to Stevenage expecting to meet a 14-year-old girl, was jailed for 16 months today, Friday, 5 May 2017.

Robert Boatwright, aged 52, was the victim of a sting set up by paedophile hunters in Devon and Cornwall who had posed on Facebook as a teenager called Danielle Marshall.

Prosecutor Alison Ginn told Luton Crown Court that contact began on 7 March this year. The conversations moved quickly from suggestive to explicit.

On 8 March, Boatwright travelled to Stevenage expecting to meet the girl, but nobody was there. The police were informed and Boatwright was arrested five days later.

After initially denying a sexual motive, in a second interview he told the police he got on the bus with the intention of sexually touching the girl. But Ms Ginn said he told the officers that during the journey he realised that was wrong and they were just going to be friends. He told the officers it was the first time he had done anything like that and that his life was over.

Boatwright, of Hitchin Road, Luton, appeared for sentence having pleaded guilty at the magistrates' court to attempting to meet someone aged under 16 following sexual grooming.

Clare Gordon, defending, said: "Fortunately, there is no actual victim. He believed there was a girl he was going to meet. It is not a case where he pretended to be a younger man. He used his own Facebook picture. He showed poor thinking skills." She said Boatwright, who had worked at Luton Airport and in security, had lost his job because the police had informed his employers on his arrest. "He accepts he needs help and therapy," she said.

Jailing him, Judge Michael Kay QC said: "This is a shocking offence. Within a very short time, you were suggesting a meeting and began a conversation about sexual touching." In addition to the custodial sentence, Boatwright must also register as a sex offender for 10 years.

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