North East man who 'met child for sex' given suspended sentence after Dark Justice trap

Curran appeared at Newcastle Crown Court.
Curran appeared at Newcastle Crown Court.

A pervert in pink shorts who planned to meet a child for sex was thwarted by a group of paedophile hunters.

David Curran had been chatting online to what he thought was a 15-year-old girl but in reality, he had fallen into a "trap" set by Dark Justice.

During the conversations, he asked questions about the girl's underwear and even sent her a picture of his near naked body with her name scrawled on his chest.

The 56-year-old loner walked away from the Newcastle meeting after he was confronted by the group - but was quickly tracked down by police.

When his Northumberland home was raided, officers found 1,673 indecent images of children amongst his porn collection of around 50,000 legal pornographic pictures and movies.

At Newcastle Crown Court Curran, of Botherwick Farm Cottage, Warkworth admitted attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming as well as making and possessing indecent photographs of children.

Jonathan Devlin, prosecuting, told the court Curran had called the girl "sexy" soon after they started chatting in July 2014, even after he was told she was 15.

Mr Devlin said: "He asked if he could kiss her, asked a number of questions about her underwear, sent images of himself semi-naked and naked but holding his genitals.

"On one of the images he had written the name 'Becca' on his body."

The court heard within weeks Curran had suggested seeing the girl and they arranged to meet at the Millennium Bridge on Newcastle's Quayside.

Mr Devlin said: "He was videoed, wearing the pink shorts described in the chat.

"He was approached and asked was it appropriate to meet a 15-year-old girl."

The court heard Curran said he was "sorry" and that his actions were "role play" before leaving the meeting point and being traced by the police .

Judge John Milford QC said Curran had "become isolated from the world" and that said his actions had been "disturbing".

He said: "You walked straight into a trap which had been set by others on the internet.

"You have developed, in mid-life, an extremely unhealthy interest in teenage girls, which you were prepared to put into effect.

"It is fortunate you have been foolish and you were apprehended in this way before any harm could be done to someone such as 'Rebecca'.

"Immense harm has been done to the subject of the images you had on the computer."

Curran was sentenced to 20 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, with supervision and programme requirements. He will also be the subject of a five year sexual harm prevention order, and will have to spend 10 years on the sex offenders' register.

The judge added that far more work could be done to protect public safety if Curran could be treated in the community

Anne Richardson, mitigating, said: "If he is sent to prison no work will be done with him. He will come out remaining isolated."

Miss Richardson said Curran has lived a law abiding life and turned to the internet when things started to "go wrong" in his personal life.