Sex trap supply teacher from Accrington found guilty
A TEACHER caught in a ‘paedophile’ sting trying to meet what he believed was a schoolgirl for sex will be jailed in the New Year.
David Simpson, 49, was yesterday found guilty of attempting to meet a girl under 16, intending to commit a relevant offence, between February 22 and 27, by a Burnley Crown Court jury, after a five-day trial.
He had denied the allegation. The jury took three hours and 33 minutes to reach its majority verdict.
Judge Andrew Woolman bailed the defendant, of Oak Street, Accrington, who spent three months in custody after his arrest, until January 24, for a pre-sentence report. Simpson, who must live at an address in Southampton, was ordered to sign the Sex Offenders' Register.
The judge warned him: "You should expect an immediate custodial sentence, even though there is no actual victim in this case."
Simpson qualified as a teacher in 2002 and then taught at Hollins Technology College in Accrington. He left in December 2011 and told the jury it was because of work pressures.
He returned to teaching in 2012 and had worked as a supply teacher at Norden High School and Sports College, Rishton, Alder Grange Community and Technology School, Rawtenstall, and Ribblesdale High School, Clitheroe, around the time he started sending obscene internet messages to what he thought was a 15-year-old, in February.
The messages to the ‘child’, the jury had been told, used an ‘effective grooming technique’ and had included calling her ‘my sexy little schoolgirl’, and one telling her: "We will have lots of sex when we are together. You won't be a little girl anymore."
He had asked the ‘15-year-old’ to take pictures of herself in her school uniform and had sent her a photo of his private parts.
The court had heard Simpson had not been communicating with an under-aged girl at all, but a woman in her 20s.
Lisa Chard had acted as a decoy to help a man named Stinson Hunter set up a fictitious profile in the name of Lisa Rogers on the free adult dating site Plenty of Fish.
Mr Hunter was out to trap what he would describe as a ‘paedophile’ and Simpson was later caught in a sting when he turned up in Birmingham on February 26, to meet the ‘schoolgirl’ for sex in a hotel.
Prosecutor Sarah Johnston had told the court: "He wasn't confronted by 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 by a journalist from a national newspaper, who was with Mr Hunter, and was put on YouTube.
The day before the meeting, Simpson, terrified of getting caught, had, said Miss Johnston ‘pretty foolishly’ rung the police, said he had been talking to a woman called Lisa Rogers on the internet and asked if she was an under cover police officer.
Simpson claimed in court he ‘knew’ he had been conversing with an adult and rang the police because he wanted to know what kind of ‘game they were playing’.
Giving evidence, Simpson, a former consultant metallurgist, said he married his wife in 2003 and they separated in 2011.
Simpson said he had gone on Plenty of Fish for ‘fun and chances of sexual encounters’.
The defendant said he had been on the site about a year, had sent lots of messages, had met our people and had had sex. He said he had put on his profile he had been looking for ‘intimate encounter’ and so had Lisa Rogers.