Clanfield pervert John Smith, 39, snared by paedophile vigilante group after sending videos and pictures to '12-year-old girl' of himself performing sex act

A PERVERT was caught out by a paedophile vigilante group sending an apparent 12-year-old girl videos of himself performing a sex act after turning to drink and pornography to ease his suffering following the ‘shattering’ of his life.

Saturday, 29th May 2021, 4:55 am

John Smith, 39, engaged what he thought was a girl called Lucy in ‘highly sexualised’ conversations after striking up a chat with a dormant social media profile used to snare predators.

After being told Lucy’s age, the unemployed Clanfield man asked if he could meet her and see a picture of her - with a fake image sent over.

Portsmouth Crown Court heard how Smith, of previous good character, quickly escalated matters by asking if she ‘knew what sex is’ and asking if she wanted to see a picture of his penis.

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Portsmouth Crown Court Picture: César Moreno Huerta

Smith also asked to see her private parts and whether she ‘played with herself’, the paedophile hunter reported, before adding: ‘He was saying what he would like to do to me on several occasions.’

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Smith, of Saxon Close, sent Lucy videos of himself performing a sex act. ‘But there was no actual 12-year-old girl,’ prosecutor Jeffrey Lamb told the court.

The offending spanned from March 13 to April 20 in 2019 before Smith was arrested and offered a ‘no comment’ response.

Philip Allman, defending, said the offending was ‘borne out of the breakdown of his life’ after Smith’s marriage had come to an end.

The barrister said gout-sufferer Smith, who also has cirrhosis of the liver, had felt ‘shame’ over his actions caused by the ‘shattering of his life’.

‘Ultimately no harm was done to Lucy as it turned out to be an adult,’ he said.

Recorder Robert Bright QC told Smith he was ‘communicating with someone he believed was a 12-year-old girl’ in ‘highly sexualised conversations’ that descended to sending pictures and videos of himself.

‘You were in fact communicating with someone from a vigilante paedophile group who had set up a fake profile,’ Mr Bright said.

‘It is a serious matter. The offending took place at a low time in your life after you had taken to drinking and pornography.’

But the recorder said he was ‘troubled by (Smith) not facing up to your actions’ - further shown by the defendant continuing to drink despite his liver condition.

But Mr Bright opted to give Smith a ‘chance’ after believing prison would not address the cause of the offending, with it only serving to punish him while ‘surrounding him with people much worse than yourself’.

Instead, a 10-month jail term suspended for two years was handed down along with a two-year community order of 150 hours of unpaid work, 35 rehabilitation days and a three-month curfew from 7pm - 7am.

A sexual harm prevention order was also given to Smith who admitted one charge of attempting to cause a child under 13 to watch a sexual image and a further charge of attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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