Sunderland paedophile back behind bars after inviting 'boy' around to his house for tea

Paul Southern
Paul Southern

A paedophile has been put back behind bars after he tried to invite a child "around for tea" at his house.

Paul Southern has been banned for life from having any contact with children as a result of an order imposed last year, when he was jailed for trying to meet two underage boys, from a dating site, for sex but had been duped by paedophile hunters Guardians of the North.

After his release from jail, the 40-year-old has been snared by the group again, using the same dating app Grindr, trying to chat with a child last month.

Prosecutor Mark Guiliani told Newcastle Crown Court: "The group was able to establish his address, where he was living. They went around because he invited the 14-year-old boy, or the person he thought was a 14-year-old boy, around for tea."

The court heard instead of a naive schoolboy turning up at the house for "tea", members of the Guardians of the North, who pose as children online to expose paedophiles, arrived at the door instead and alerted the police.

Southern, of Hendon Burn Avenue, Sunderland, admitted breach of a sexual harm prevention order.

Judge Tim Gittins jailed him for 16 months and said it was "likely significant sexual contact would have followed" if Southern had been able to meet an actual child.

Judge Gittins told him: "This is not just a breach of sexual harm prevention order in a minor way but by trying to commit the same sort of offence you tried to commit last year, effectively attempting to sexually groom a boy under 16."

The judge told Southern there was no problem with him using the site to meet adults.

But he added: "It is clear you are ready and willing, if there are underage boys on the site, to contact them with a view to meeting for sexual behaviour to take place between the two of you."

Southern remains subject to the sexual harm prevention order and must sign the sex offenders register, both on an indefinite basis.

Alec Burns, defending, said Southern "was not actively looking for children" when he went on the site, which is for adults, and added "his request was for tea".

Mr Burns added: "Initially, he told the person he should not be on the dating website, that he could get harmed by adults, but then he carried on and asked him to come to his house."

Mr Burns said Southern has been the subject to abuse by his neighbours due to his past, leads a "lonely" existence.

The court heard Southern had been so "very drunk" when he asked the boy for tea that he has "absolutely no recollection at all" of it.