Builder jailed after being caught by paedophile hunter posing as 12-year-old girl
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A builder who had sexually explicit online chats with a vigilante paedophile hunter posing as a 12-year-old girl has been jailed for 30 months.
Over a period of a month Michael Holton had a number exchanges with "Lucy" in which he discussed having sex and meeting her in a hotel, Ipswich Crown Court heard.
Sentencing 37-year-old Holton, Judge Martyn Levett said: "It's clear from the conversation in chat logs that your contact was undoubtedly persistent and rapidly became sexualised."
He said that a Facebook account with a picture of "Lucy" had been specifically set up by a member of a group set up to expose adults seeking to have sex with children.
The person who set up the account had handed police a file containing chat logs in which Holton had suggested meeting "Lucy" at a hotel.
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Although Holton had proposed meeting "Lucy" at a hotel for sex no definite arrangement was made and Holton was arrested after he turned up at Mill Hotel in Sudbury on December 29 thinking he was going to meet a woman in her twenties called "Gemma" who didn't exist.
Holton, of no fixed adresss, admitted attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child and attempting to cause or incite a girl under 13 years of age in sexual activity.
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In addition to being jailed he was ordered to sign the sex offenders' register indefinitely.
Judge Levett also made Holton the subject of a sexual harm prevention order for ten years.
Phillip Farr for Holton said his client was a builder and a sexual harm prevention order might restrict the work he was able to undertake.
He said Holton was relatively lightly convicted and had no convictions for offences similar to the ones before the court.
He said Holton, who lives alone, wasn't someone with a predatory nature on the look out for young girls.
"He is someone who uses the internet as a tool to meet and chat regardless of who the person is at the other end," said Mr Farr.