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SUSPENDED SENTENCE: Watford man caught by paedophile hunters

 Published on: 4th October 2023   |   By: News Bulletin   |   Category: Uncategorized

A Watford paedophile was caught attempting to obtain indecent images of decoys he believed were 11-year-old girls.

St Albans Crown Court heard how Michael Morgan, 67, made two separate attempts to obtain pornographic photos from children using online chatrooms – not realising they were actually paedophile hunters from online group Cobra UK.

Starting on October 5, 2020, Morgan engaged in sexual communication with a decoy using the name Jessie on Chat-Avenue. Despite believing she was only 11 years old, he asked what she was wearing and requested indecent images.

The communication only ended because the decoy device had to be destroyed in relation to an unrelated incident.

From March 1, 2021, Morgan began chatting to another decoy on Kid Chat – this time using the alias Izzy – again believing she was aged 11.

On this occasion, he asked if she liked older boys or men, wanted to know what she was wearing and solicited pictures, including selfies in the bath.

He shared with her that he liked surfing the internet for porn and provided her with information on how to access it, explaining that he would like her to perform the sex acts shown on him.

Prosecuting, Gabrielle McAvock said Morgan told the decoy he wanted to masturbate over an image of a naked child and obtain sexual gratification as a result.

Following these chats, representatives from Cobra UK attended his former home address in Great Elms Road, Hemel Hempstead, on July 27, 2021, and livestreamed their confrontation on Facebook. The police also attended and seized Morgan’s laptop and mobile phone.

On these devices they discovered three Category C indecent images of 11-year-old children on his phone, and a Category B video on the laptop featuring children aged eight, nine and 13.

Following his arrest, Morgan was forced to flee the family home of 30 years following threats from neighbours, and rent alternative accommodation.

Mitigating, Tomas McGarvey said the defendant was supported by his son and wife of 40 years, and had sought help from a psychotherapist at his own cost to address his offending behaviour.

The court heard that Morgan was suffering from stress caused by the death of his mother in 2014 and cousin in 2018, and had sought an escape from family politics in the world of child pornography.

Judge Lana Wood recognised his genuine remorse and sentenced him to 12 months’ imprisonment, suspended for 24 months. Morgan was also ordered to attend 30 days rehabilitation and carry out 200 hours unpaid work. A Sexual Harm Prevention Order was imposed for 10 years.

She added: “This is a deal between ourselves, and I’m trusting you to stay out of trouble.”

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