Man who groomed girl, 14, via internet chatroom jailed after park sting

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A former sales rep has been jailed for a year after he turned up at a Halifax park to have sex with a 14-year-old girl.

A court heard today (Tuesday) that Queensbury man Trevor Arnold thought he had been talking to “little Laura” via an internet chat room, but when he turned up in his BMW at Shibden Park in June 2013 he was confronted by a internet paedophile investigator armed with a camcorder.

Bradford Crown Court heard that the 58-year-old married father-of-one had arranged to meet “little Laura” even after he knew she was only 14.

During chat room conversations Arnold, who had no previous convictions, said he knew he would be in terrible trouble if he was caught, but he was willing to take the risk.

Police in Halifax were contacted following the confrontation at the park and when officers seized computer equipment from Arnold’s home in Foxcroft Close they found 18 indecent images of children.

Arnold, who lost his job as a sales rep, pleaded guilty earlier this month to offences of attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming and possessing indecent images of children.

Prosecutor Nikki Peers revealed that a previous case involving the same paedophile investigator had resulted in a man receiving a three-year community sentence.

She said there were on-going prosecutions against a number of other males in Sheffield, Leeds and Bradford relating to information supplied by the same investigator.

Lawyer Tom Rushbrooke, for Arnold, said his client had done something exceedingly stupid which he now deeply regretted.

He said Arnold was the main carer for his sick wife and submitted that a three-year community order involving work with probation service would be a robust alternative to an immediate prison sentence.

But the Recorder of Bradford Judge Roger Thomas QC said behind Arnold’s middle-class, decent life lay something very nasty and a message had to be sent out to try and deter others from doing what he had done.

“If it comes to light as it has come to light in your case they must understand that prison sentences must follow,” said Judge Thomas.

Arnold will now have to register as a sex offender for the next 10 years and he will also be subject to a sexual offences prevention order for the same period of time.