A married man who drove to a shopping centre thinking he was going to meet a young boy for sex, got a shock when he found police officers were waiting for him instead.
Russell Matthews thought he’d been in contact with a 13- year-old boy he’d met on the gay dating site, Grindr.
In fact, the boy was an undercover police officer who had been posing online as a schoolboy.
Matthews, 35, from Hemel Hempstead was arrested, and when his phone was seized it was discovered he had also been trying to meet a 15- year-old boy for sex
Today (Thurs) Matthews of Upper Barn was jailed for a total of four years.
Prosecutor Sarah Knight told St Albans crown court it was in October 2019 that Matthew drove to the Galleria in Hatfield thinking he was meeting a boy called Ben.
The court was told how Matthews had been in regular online contact with the boy with highly sexualised conversations.
The court then heard that found on his phone were scores of illegal child sex abuse images that he’d downloaded including some of the very worst material to be found online.
But there was more, said Miss knight when police found evidence on the phone that Matthews had also been communicating online with a 15-year-old boy.
The youngster was traced by detectives and told them how Matthews had sent him sexualised photos.
The boy told the police that so relentless was Matthews with his request that he would find himself being contacted by him when he was at school.
In court, Matthews pleaded guilty to attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming, attempting sexual communication with a child, attempting to cause a child to carry out a sexual act, causing a child to engage in sexual activity, causing a child to watch a sexual act and three charges of making indecent photos of a child.
Adam Budworth defending said Matthews had taken steps to address his offending behaviour by paying for counselling sessions.
Passing sentence Judge Michael Kay told Matthews that he would have known “fully well” that what he was doing was wrong.
Matthews was jailed for four years and his name will go on the sex offenders register for life.
in addition, he was made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order and told the devices on which he’d stored indecent material will be destroyed.