Sunderland paedophile snared in undercover sting trying to meet teen for sex for third time

A paedophile who turned up to meet a 14-year-old girl at a train station for sex had been snared in an undercover online sting - for a third time.

Tuesday, 13th July 2021, 2:21 pm
Graham Burton

Graham Burton had already been jailed twice for his sickening internet activities towards children when he started another illegal conversation in March.

The 57-year-old grandad, who was out on licence, was told he was chatting to a schoolgirl but had been duped by a covert police operative, who was behind the fake chat profile.

Prosecutor Michael Bunch told the court Burton quickly turned the conversation sexual and enticed the teen to travel almost 25 miles to meet him at Sunderland train station with the promise of alcohol and cigarettes.

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When he arrived at the station to meet the child, who said she would skip school and catch a train from Middlesbrough, he was greeted by the police.

Mr Bunch told the court Burton had sent pictures of his naked private parts during the conversation, which ran from a Monday until just before the illegal meeting, which was arranged for the Friday.

Mr Bunch said: "Very quickly the conversation was sexualised by the defendant.

"He consistently discussed sexual matters with the 14-year-old, who had clarified her age repeatedly and the fact she was still at school.

"A number of penetrative acts were proposed on his part towards the girl with whom he believed he was conversing.

"He also proposed that the two should meet. He suggested she could travel from Middlesbrough, Teesside, where she said she resided, by jumping on the train without buying a ticket and he would meet her in Sunderland city centre.

"He offered to buy her alcohol and also offered to buy cigarettes if she wanted.

"He attempted to gain her support by saying he would be sympathetic and understanding towards her and wouldn't act in any way which would hurt her.

"He sought to get agreement to sexual acts he proposed undertaking to her.

"An agreement was made to meet for the Friday. She said she would skip school to travel up.

"He commented people would just think he was her grandad if they were seen in public."

The court heard police attended Sunderland train station at the arranged meeting time and found Burton waiting.

He claimed he was just "out for a walk and to get a newspaper" and denied he was waiting for a child.

Burton, of Park Road, Sunderland, admitted attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child, attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming and breach of a sexual harm prevention order.

The court heard in 2017 he was jailed for 17 months for attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity and indecent images offences.

In 2019 he was jailed for 27 months for attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child.

He was released from prison last summer on licence.

Judge Penny Moreland sentenced him to three years behind bars with lifelong sex offender registration.

He is already the subject of a sexual harm prevention order.

The judge told him: "You were arrested at Sunderland railway station, I am satisfied where you had gone to meet the 14-year-old girl you believed you had been talking to."

Judge Moreland said she accepted no child was harmed as the girl did not exist but she said Burton's criminal record was a "serious aggravating feature" of the case.

Alec Burns, defending, said: "He is a lonely man. He lives on his own and being on his own he becomes bored and acts stupidly, indeed very shortly after being released from having done so in the past.

"He went out not really expecting anyone to go and meet him."

Mr Burns said Burton's entire family has turned its back on him and he is in poor health.

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