Team: PH Balance
Forest of Dean sex offender jailed for 20 months after being caught by paedophile hunters
A Forest of Dean sex offender, who thought he was chatting online to 13 and 14-year-old girls, was actually communicating with a group of adult paedophile hunters, a judge heard on Friday, August 3.
Brian Cooper, 49, of Little London, near Longhope, was jailed for 20 months after Judge Ian Lawrie QCruled “for the last decade or so you’ve had the opportunity to address your problems but ignored them.”
Cooper admitted four offences of attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child between August 17 and September 8 last year.
Those actions placed him in breach of a sexual harm prevention order, prosecutor Chloe Griggs told Gloucester Crown Court.
“He believed they were young females,” Ms Griggs said. “They were in fact a paedophile hunter group.
“He believed they were younger than 16, as they had said they were 13 or 14.”
The court heard that Cooper believed he was interacting with four different girls on a website called Chat Hour.
“All of the conversations were sexual and similar in nature,” Ms Griggs said.
The judge noted that in some of the conversations Cooper had ‘expressed a desire to meet’.
Ms Griggs said that Cooper had offered to instruct the ‘girls’ on sexual touching and it would be much easier to do so if they met.
In 2010, Cooper received a three-year community order for offences of internet grooming of children.
When arrested for those offences eight years ago, he told officers if the 13-year-old girl had offered him sex ‘on a plate’ he would have accepted it.
As part of that sentence he was made subject to the sexual harm prevention order, Ms Griggs said, and in 2015 he breached it.
The prosecutor said Cooper’s offending was ‘persistent and prevalent.”
Judge Lawrie agreed, noting that it was ‘calculated and persistent’.
“He is on an order to prevent this,” the judge said. “He chooses to squander sentences designed to help him.”
Cooper’s lawyer, Clare Fear, pointed to the guilty plea entered at the earliest opportunity, and highlighted that probation proposed a further three year order to address his offending.
“A further three years of supervision and support would be more impactive than a relatively short prison sentence,” she argued.
The judge disagreed saying: “Despite the efforts of the court on not one but two occasions he’s ignored it.
“It’s a lingering problems and he’s chosen to ignore it.”
“He’s married,” the judge noted. “Goodness knows what his wife thinks.
“It’s up to him to sort it out. He is not stupid.”
The judge said to Cooper as he jailed him: “I’ve been addressed this afternoon in an effort to try and dissuade me from pursuing custody.
“For the last decade or so you’ve had the opportunity to address your problem and ignored them.
“Despite the submissions made the only option is custody.”
As well as the 20 month immediate jail sentence, Cooper was made subject to a further sexual harm prevention order for life.
He was also ordered to sign the sex offender register for life.