Sunderland pervert caught twice inviting children to his home for sex

Paul Southern

Paul Southern

A pervert is behind bars after he was caught TWICE inviting children to his home for sex by the same paedophile hunter group.

Paul Southern thought he was chatting to underage teenage boys on gay dating website Grindr - but had been duped by Guardians of the North, who had set up fake profiles.

Newcastle Crown Court heard in September last year the 38-year-old contacted a profile claiming to be a male named "Ryan" and was told boy was just 14.

Despite believing he was messaging a child, Southern invited "Ryan" to his home, engaged in explicit sexual chat and even offered to pay for him to travel there by cab.

He told the youngster: "I haven't been with a guy as young since I was 13 LOL, need to be careful".

When the former hotel worker was confronted by the police, who were called to the address by the Guardians of the North group, he claimed he had been "set up".

The court heard just two months later, while on police bail over the first confrontation, Southern contacted another profile on the same site in December.

This time, he was told the profile belonged to a lad called "Thomas", who, again, was 14.

Southern once again turned the conversation to sexual matters and used "explicit language" before giving the child his address so he could "pop over".

Prosecutor Emma Dowling told the court: "Mr Southern admitted to Thomas he was scared because he knew his age but continued to contact him a number of times during the day and asked if he was coming to his home and if they were going to bed.

"Again, Guardians of the North attended and again contacted the police and the defendant was arrested."

The court heard once again Southern claimed he had been "set up".

Southern, of Dinsdale Street South, Ryhope, Sunderland, admitted two charges of attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity.

Judge Amanda Rippon sentenced him to 21 months behind bars with a lifelong sexual harm prevention order and ten years on the sex offenders register.

The judge said: "What is troubling more than anything was he was released on bail and despite all that that meant, he did exactly the same thing again."

The judge said the incitement involved "very serious sexual activity" and that the sexual harm prevention order was necessary to "protect underage boys" .

Judge Rippon told Southern: "You said on both occasions you had been set up, which you hadn't.

"You were not looking for interaction with children, it was an adult website you were using, but once you believed you had a child's attention you didn't desist and went on to incite them into serious sexual activity.

"You didn't learn a lesson you should have learned and continued to offend against, as far as you were concerned, children. "

Susan Hirst, defending, said Southern was "very low" at the time he committed the offences and had been drinking too much.

Miss Hirst said the dating site is intended to be for adults only and added: "He was not actually looking for someone under age.

"He did not go looking for a child.

"He was depressed, he was lonely, he was grateful for any attention he was given."

Miss Hirst said since the offences Southern has had a lot of support from his family and is now emotionally stable.

She added: "Emotionally and mentally he was in a different place to the person who presents before the court today.

"It seems this has been a salutary lesson for him to sort himself out.

"He is not someone who will come back before these courts."