TV hopeful snared by Dark Justice
A 71-year-old singer who once hoped to win Britain's Got Talent has been snared by paedophile hunters - but still wants to work as a children’s entertainer.
George Jackson was caught when he turned up to meet a 15-year-old girl he had been talking to online in January last year.
Newcastle Crown Court heard Dark Justice had set up the fake profile of "Jessie" to expose adults who were looking for illegal contact with underage teens.
When Jackson, who claimed on his profile to be 20 years younger, turned up to meet the child for "non-penetrative sexual activity" the group, who alerted the police, were waiting.
Jackson, who had hoped his singing past would help him wow the judges on the ITV show in 2015, initially claimed he had been a "victim of the Dark Justice operation", but later pleaded guilty to attempting to engage in sexual communications with a child.
At his sentence hearing, defence barrister John Wilkinson asked if Jackson's Sexual Harm Prevention Order could be relaxed to allow him to entertain children.
Mr Wilkinson said: "He has been keen to let me see a number of hand bills, indicating the matters he would like to do, if at all possible.
"One of those would involve his attendance at children’s parties."
Mr Wilkinson said parents would be present at such parties, meaning Jackson would not be with them unsupervised.
Judge Robert Adams sentenced Jackson, of Ashgill, Albany, Washington, to a community order for two years with mental health treatment and rehabilitation requirements.
The judge said Jackson must sign the sex offenders’ register and abide by a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for five years.
Judge Adams made it a condition of the order that he has no contact with children without the permission of parents, who are aware of his conviction, and of social services.
The order means Jackson cannot perform at children’s parties.
Mr Wilkinson said Jackson's mental health problems, which include bipolar disorder, "had some influence" on his offending behaviour.