Blyth sex offender snared by paedophile hunters

A pervert who turned up at McDonalds to meet a child he had invited to his home was instead confronted by paedophile hunters.

By Court reporter
Thursday, 27th January 2022, 5:24 pm
Updated Friday, 28th January 2022, 1:57 pm
Liam Williamson admitted grooming the schoolgirl.
Liam Williamson admitted grooming the schoolgirl.

Liam Williamson thought he had been talking to a 14-year-old over dating app Skout, and exchanged numbers with the “girl”, despite her young age.

But Newcastle Crown Court heard a volunteer from Guardians of the North was behind the fake teen profile, which had been set up to snare online predators.

During a series of online conversations, in May 2019, Williamson invited the girl to visit him and sent her a picture of his local bus timetable, but warned he could "get into trouble for talking to her".

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As the chat became more sexual, Williamson told the teen "don't tell your mam or anyone, OK?", and also asked her to send pictures of herself.

Prosecutor Omar Ahmad said a meeting was arranged for May 13 2019, when the teen said she would travel by bus from Newcastle to a McDonalds in Blyth.

But instead of the girl, members of undercover group Guardians of the North turned up and filmed the confrontation.

Williamson can be heard saying: "I am sorry, mate."

He adds: "I am not the type of person who does this."

But he is told by one of the paedophile hunters: "Well, obviously you have turned yourself into that person."

Another says: "You are going to get more than a boll***ing. You will be a registered sex offender by the end of this."

Mr Ahmad told the court: "The defendant told her 'we will hug and kiss if you want and if you want, I can show you how to touch yourself, only if you want'.

"The defendant travelled to the meeting spot, sending messages to her as he did so.

"Volunteers from Guardians of the North attended at the meeting place, which was McDonalds."

Williamson, of Langley Avenue, Cowpen, Blyth, admitted attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming and Judge Christopher Prince sentenced him to 13 months behind bars.

Williamson must sign the sex offenders register and abide by a sexual harm prevention order for ten years.

The judge told him: "Between May 6 2019 and May 13 2019 you were intent on meeting what you believed to be a 14-year-old girl at McDonalds, to take her from that meeting place to your home and to hug, kiss, and touch her if she agreed."

Peter Schofield, mitigating, said Williamson was a "vulnerable individual", adding: “When the defendant became involved in this offence, he was at an all-time low and had recently lost his employment."

The court heard Williamson, who has some learning difficulties, has never been in trouble, was "isolated" at the time but had been in adult relationships in the past.

Mr Schofield added: "Custody fills him with dread, he is very wary and concerned about the affect it will have upon him.

"He will be vulnerable in custody."