Accrington teacher 'snared in teen sex trap'

This Is Lancashire: David Simpson, of Accrington, denies all charges David Simpson, of Accrington, denies all charges

A TEACHER who allegedly tried to meet what he believed was a schoolgirl for sex was caught in a sting to trap a ‘paedophile’, a jury heard.

David Simpson, 49, had been involved in explicit communication with a fictitious 15-year-old girl over the internet and had asked her to take a picture of herself in her school uniform, Burnley Crown Court was told.

It was, in fact a woman in her twenties acting as a decoy.

Simpson, said to have used a ‘very effective grooming technique’ on the ‘girl’ told her he had had sex with a 15 -year-old pupil in his classroom in the past.

He was arrested after he turned up to see the child in Birmingham, but was met instead by the man and a journalist from a national newspaper, was terrified they were the police and fled when told they were journalists.

The defendant claims he genuinely believed he had been conversing with an adult.

The hearing was told he had phoned police before the meeting asking if a woman he had been talking to on the internet was an undercover officer.

The defendant, from Oak Street, Accrington, denies attempting to meet a female under the age of 16 intending to commit a relevant offence, between February 22 and 27.

Sarah Johnston, prosecuting, told the jury there was no 15-year-old girl. There was somebody pretending to be a 15-year-old girl.

It wasn't a police sting, it was an operation set up by a man known as Stinson Hunter.

In 2010, he decided he was going to set up dating profiles with details of fictitious women.

His aim was to target and confront what he would describe as paedophiles, principally men with the aim of meeting girls below the age of 16 for sexual activity.

His aim was to target them, arrange to meet them and then confront them with their behaviour.

The prosecutor said in February, with the help of a woman named Lisa Chard, he set up an account on adult dating website Plenty of Fish, in the name of Lisa Rogers. Lisa Chard was acting as a decoy to set up the fictitious profile. Her profile said: "Hi. My name is Lisa. I can't use my real age. I'm just here for a chat. Please message me for my real age."

Within 15 minutes, Simpson, a Lancashire secondary school teacher, sent a message. They spoke over the internet for a week or 10 days and from the outset, Lisa Chard told him she was 15.

Their conversation continued on an instant chat application called Kick Messenger and that enabled her to take a screen shot of their communication.

Miss Johnston said: "Their conversation quickly became sexual, at the defendant's instigation."

She would send the material on to Mr Hunter.

Miss Johnston continued: "The defendant made it abundantly clear that his primary intention was to have sex with her. He referred to her age, being a schoolgirl, being a virgin and makes very explicit comments about the advantages for them both of having sex in these circumstances."

He made it very clear he wanted to meet the girl.

On February 26, Stinson Hunter booked a hotel room in Birmingham and arrangements were made for the fictitious 15-year-old and the defendant to meet there on a school day, to get to know each other and go to the hotel for sexual activity. The booking confirmation was communicated to the defendant and on the agreed meeting date, Mr Hunter and the journalist went to where they were expecting to meet the defendant.

Miss Johnston said: "Of course he wasn't confronted with a 15-year-old wanting sex. He was confronted by Mr Hunter, who had set up this profile for precisely this purpose." The confrontation was filmed.

The defendant was asked if he thought it was appropriate to be meeting a 15-year-old girl for sex.

He replied: "I'm not meeting her for sex." Miss Johnston said: "That was a barefaced lie."

Miss Johnston said the defendant was arrested on March 1, interviewed and made no comment.

The prosecutor continued: "His case is he believed throughout these exchanges, he was conversing with an adult."

Miss Johnston told the court Simpson said he genuinely thought he was conversing with an adult because Lisa Chard used her own photo on the profile and they spoke on the phone and she didn't sound like a 15-year-old.

(proceeding)

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