Soldier, Samuel Dallow, who tried to meet underage girl for sex caught by vigilante ‘paedo-hunter’
A TIDWORTH soldier who tried to meet a child for sex in Andover after sending her explicit messages has been jailed.
Samuel Dallow, 25, believed he was speaking to a 14-year-old girl named Emma online, and arranged to meet her in person after grooming her for weeks.
But when he went to meet her at Andover train station on April 11 he was confronted by Shane Brannigan, a vigilante paedophile-hunter.
Mr Brannigan filmed the encounter and broadcast it live on social media, and had copies of messages Dallow had sent to ‘Emma’.
When first confronted, Dallow said he was “meeting a friend”, adding: “There’s nothing more to it, she’s a friend.”
But Mr Brannigan said: “I will give you this opportunity, before I get f*cking angry, to come clean.”
He showed Dallow copies of messages and asked if they were acceptable to send to a child, and Dallow replied: “No they’re not”.
Mr Brannigan read out the explicit messages to Dallow before branding him the “scum of the earth” and calling the police.
Dallow was sentenced to two years in prison at Winchester Crown Court on Thursday (June 8) after previously admitting attempting to meet a teenage girl with the intention of committing sexual assault against a child.
Dallow, of 6th Battalion The Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, was based in Tidworth Barracks but is previously from Birmingham.
Sentencing, Judge Parker QC said Dallow was a “dangerous offender” after a report found him to be a high risk to girls aged twelve to sixteen.
He said: “[Emma] herself was not actually harmed, because she didn’t exist.
“That said, you did send an image of yourself to a person you believed to be a child.
“You plainly and repeatedly communicated your desire to carry out penetrative sexual acts against that child.”
Mr Brannigan says his actions help police forces catch paedophiles and sex offenders.
But Chief Constable Simon Bailey, national head of child abuse investigations, told the BBC vigilante action can give suspects “the opportunity to destroy evidence” before a police investigation.
And an NSPCC spokesperson said: “Dallow believed he was meeting a 14-year-old girl. Although his intended victim was not real, the danger Dallow poses to young children is.
“Although this would-be abuser is now firmly behind bars, we believe that investigating crime is best left to the police.
“When the public take the law into their own hands it can run the risk of driving offenders underground, result in innocent people being harassed or jeopardising on-going police work – putting more children at risk of harm.”
Anyone with concerns about children, or adults who pose a threat to them, can contact the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000 or email email@example.com.