A DETERMINED mum has spoken out about how she snared an internet paedophile when she posed as her 15-year-old daughter on Facebook.
The furious mother faced every parent’s nightmare when she discovered an older man was attempting to groom her teenager for sex via the social networking site.
Posing as her daughter online, the disgusted mum, who cannot be named for legal reasons, turned internet detective and closed in the net on unsuspecting pervert Kieran Clough, 23.
When Clough, who had used a fake name, went to meet the girl for sex – with a car full of weapons and a book about sex – he was greeted instead by police.
Officers searched the garage worker’s home and found a vile stash of over 900 child porn images and seven movies on his computer.
Clough, of Wynard, Chester-le-Street, County Durham, admitted grooming, possessing indecent photographs of children and having offensive weapons, but walked free from Newcastle Crown Court.
Instead Judge Penny Moreland sentenced Clough to a community order for three years with a Sex Offenders’ Register requirement and Sexual Offences Prevention Order for five years.
The mum was horrified to overhear her young daughter telling friends she had been to meet a 21-year-old man she had been speaking to on Facebook – and then demanded to see the messages between them.
She was sickened to read the sexually explicit exchanges between her impressionable daughter and Clough - who knew the girl was 15 all along.
So, posing as her daughter, she arranged to meet Clough – but made sure the police arrested him on his way to the rendezvous.
Officers who searched his car found a book on sex toys, a knuckle duster and a police baton inside.
The 37-year-old from Wearside said: “I’m thankful every day that she hadn’t been raped or murdered.
“All the things that were found in his car prove it wasn’t just an innocent ride out.
“At the time she was an impressionable 15-year-old girl, a boy fancied her and she was flattered.
“She doesn’t believe people that easily now.
“He’d sent her intimate photos of himself and was sending her messages saying, ‘I’ll give you money and I’ll buy you stuff if you come out with me’.
“I read all of the messages which was really scary for me because he’d sent her really intimate messages and she’d been flattered and being as young and silly as she is she replied to them.
“You’re reading those things that somebody’s saying to your child and the replies that she was putting.
“I was absolutely traumatised and disgusted.”
But as distressed as she was, the mum was determined to catch the man behind the messages.
She continued: “We kept in touch with him and played along, but it was me who had been messaging him.
“We wanted to get him arrested.
“I thought that setting up a meeting was the only way we’d ever find out who this guy was – because at that point we had no idea.
“Once we explained the seriousness of the situation to my daughter she became terrified.
“She didn’t want to go to school, she was having nightmares and she was worried in case he went to look for her in school.”
The mum said that when Clough was apprehended by the police they found him with a bottle of vodka, female underwear, a basque and empty shotgun cartridges.
The mum added: “When my daughter found out what Clough had with him she was absolutely traumatised.
“If there’s one thing I’d pat myself on the back for it’s for catching him, because he’s a dangerous boy.”
Despite pleading guilty to the charges against him, Clough wasn’t given a prison sentence, much to the mum’s dismay.
She said: “The police said they were classing him as a serious sexual predatory paedophile because he had indecent images of children and that scared me even more.
“He should have been sentenced to a custodial sentence. He’s dangerous.
“The system sucks. You think some guy who has been caught making indecent images of children would get a custodial sentence, especially with everything that’s going on with all these celebrities.
“That’s what scares me - they are letting them walk about still.”
The mum is now encouraging other parents to be diligent in monitoring their children’s computers and mobile phones.
She said: “Parents need to check their kid’s phones and check their computers – watch what they are doing.
“I feel sorry for my kids in a way because they have no privacy but not respecting their privacy has stopped my daughter getting into a situation she would never be able to handle.
“In every place you live there could be 30 to 40 paedophiles you don’t know about.
“They could be on your doorstep, they could be your next door neighbour.
“You don’t know who you’re talking to on-line, you don’t know who the people are behind the pictures.
“When they’re looking at some lovely guy on the internet they are talking to a square box and they don’t know the person behind that.
“You’re looking at a picture of this gorgeous 17-year-old guy who could really be a 45-year-old bloke – and they’re so clever about it.
“They read the text talk, they do the text talk - they speak like children.
“It scares the life out of you.
“To have to go through your child’s things causes lots of arguments and your kids will say you don’t trust them but it’s not them it’s who they’re talking to.
“It’s a big scary world.”