Words by Timothy Gallagher
A MARRIED father of five who was trapped by paedophile hunters while trying to meet a 14-year old girl for sex at a railway station has been jailed for two-and-a-half-years.
Nigel Ryan, 34, of Tudor Avenue, Stalybridge, was arrested after investigators from the North West Predator Hunters group created a fake online profile claiming to be truanting teenager – and caught him sending explicit pictures.
During an exchange of messages over a three-day period, Ryan asked: ASL? which stands for age, sex and location, falsely claimed he was 29 and then sent the undercover investigator a GIF image with the caption ‘nice arse’.
Ryan also said: “I will FK you”, asked for school uniform pictures then sent pictures of his genitals adding: “I can get done for this”.
Later he arranged a meeting at the town’s train station by himself pretending to be 13-year old girl who was vouching for him. In one message he said: “You can have cigarettes and beer. The sex will good too.”
He was subsequently confronted by the group on the concourse and they live-streamed him being detained in a video which attracted 187,000 views on Facebook.
Officers searched Ryan and found two Playboy condoms in his pocket plus two mobile phones and two cans of lager in his bag.
At Minshull Street Crown Court, Manchester, Ryan admitted attempting to meet a child meeting following grooming and was jailed for 30 months.
He initially denied wrongdoing but has since been dumped by his shocked wife.
The incident occurred last April after he contacted the fake profile set up in the name of ‘Francesca’ via an app.
Prosecutor Virginia Hayton said: “This defendant contacted this user and believed the user. The first message started with the defendant saying ASL.
“He said he was 29. He asked if the girl was really 14 and she replied saying she was. He sent a GIF saying ‘nice arse’ and then said ‘I will FK you’ – he was effectively complementing her.
“Messages continued between the defendant and the girl. He was asking her to send pictures of herself and send pictures in her school uniform.
“When Francesca asks if he has any pictures of himself he sends some to her. At one point he says to her ‘I can get done’ so he knows what he is doing is unlawful. He asks what size clothes she is.
“She states in one message that they should not meet up but the following day she then receives messages from who she believes to be a 13-year-old girl who was in fact this defendant.
“He wanted to pretend to be a girl of a similar age to enhance his chances of meeting – he sent messages saying she knew him and it was fine to meet.
“An arrangement was made to meet on April 20 at 7.30pm at Stalybridge Station but the defendant was approached at the train station and was detained until police arrived.
“He later said he was flattered by her interest in him. He said his wife had bought the condoms and he just happened to have them on his person.”
In mitigation, defence lawyer Jane Greenhalgh said: “This is an extremely complex case with a complex defendant at its heart.
“Since this incident he has been diagnosed with autistic spectrum disorder. His special needs have led him to feel isolated and this led him to use the internet to speak to people.
“He has split from his wife and his five children have been taken into care.”
Sentencing, Judge John Potter told Ryan: “You corresponded with the person using two internet personas, one in your own name in which you falsely stated your age to be 29 and one fake one in which you posed as a 13-year-old girl.
‘’The purpose of your correspondence was to commit acts of sexual abuse and your wish to abuse the person you believed to be a 14-year-old child was made more evident by your actions, having told Francesca you would buy her clothes you then used a fake internet profile to encourage Francesca to meet up with you.
“You told Francesca the best thing she could do was to meet up with you when she could have cigarettes and beer and the sex would be good. This encouragement displays in my judgement planning and sophistication.
‘’I do recognise that you suffer from mental health difficulties and I appreciate they will make the custodial sentence that I am about to impose on you more difficult to deal with. However these difficulties can make no excuse for your behaviour.
“You made concerted efforts to indulge in unlawful acts to young children.
“Those like you who are prepared to do this by for example travelling on a train to meet somebody you believe to be a 14-year-old child armed with alcohol and condoms expecting sexual activity behave with the sole purpose of satisfying their own perverted sexual gratification.’’
Ryan was also issued with a sexual harm prevention order and was ordered to sign the sex offender register for 10 years.