A paedophile hunter posed as a 13-year-old girl called Megan to lure a man to a park in Bushey, a jury heard yesterday (Wednesday, September 29).
Sarah Purser, who founded online child protection group, Innocent Voices, allegedly set up the sting which led Julian Braculla to drive the 30 miles from his home in New Maldon, south London.
St Albans Crown Court was told when he arrived at Park Close in Bushey, he was confronted by members of the online child protection group, who called Hertfordshire Police.
Prosecutor Sophie Shotton said officers searched his black Mercedes and found condoms and a bottle of whisky.
Ms Shotton said Sarah Purser had set up a fake profile of the child called Megan on the Skout social media and dating site to gather evidence against paedophiles.
Mr Braculla had his own account called Mike32. On July 31, 2019, he contacted Megan saying: “Hey gorgeous.”
When he asked her age, ‘Megan’ replied: “I am 13. Please don’t report me.”
The prosecutor said the conversation turned sexual. ‘Megan’ said she did not have a boyfriend.
Mike32 asked for photos of her, including topless ones. Some were sent, but none were indecent.
He, in turn, is alleged to have sent her an indecent image and asked her to have sex with him in his car.
On August 17, 2019, they arranged to meet near her home. ‘Megan’ sent him a postcode: WD23 2DE.
Ms Shotton said: “He travelled 30 miles to meet what he believed was a 13-year-old child.
When he arrived, he was confronted by the online child action group Innocent Voices.
“These included Sarah Purser who recognised him from selfies.
“The police were called and he was taken into police custody. In his car whisky and condoms were found.
“His iPhone was examined and the most recent destination in the App was the WD23 postcode.”
In a police interview, he denied all the allegations and said he had not been the one communicating with Megan. He said he must have been set up by someone who wanted to cause him harm.
The married man told the officers he had met a friend in North Finchley and had got lost, saying the whiskey and condoms were for his own use at home.
Mr Braculla, now 37, of Archdale Place, New Malden, denies attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child, arranging the commission of a child sex offence and meeting a girl aged under 16 following grooming.