A man who tried to meet a 14-year-old girl he had met online was caught by a paedophile hunting group
The judge described Alan Mullen as ‘pathetic’
Alan Mullen, 66, from Court Farm Road in Cwmbran, admitted attempting to meet a child after grooming and was sentenced at Cardiff Crown Court
A man who tried to meet a girl he believed to be 14 was caught by a self-styled paedophile hunting group, a court heard.
Alan Mullen, 66, admitted attempting to meet a child after grooming and was sentenced at Cardiff Crown Court.
Judge William Gaskell described the defendant’s actions as “pathetic”.
The court heard he was caught by a group of members of the public who called themselves “Patronus”.
Prosecutor Julian Greenwood told the court a woman in her late 30s set up a profile on a site called Kiss Chat pretending to be a fictitious 14-year-old girl called Sam.
The court heard he met the girl online on May 12 and asked her how old she was. She stated she was 14 and he lied in response, telling her he was 49.
Mr Greenwood said: “The conversations became sexual.”
The court heard the defendant called the girl “honey”, asked if she liked snogging and talked about the size of her breasts.
Prosecutors said Mullen told her he had to be careful, as he did not want to be seen as a paedophile, and asked her to delete his messages.
When the girl asked what a paedophile was and he replied: “A man who preys on young girls.”
They chatted online for a week until Mullen was arrested on May 19, after arranging to meet her at Beechwood Park in Newport.
Prosecutors said members of the group went to the park and Mullen turned around in his car when he realised what had happened.
Other group members were waiting at his home in Cwmbran and detained him until the police arrived, before handing over their evidence.
In his police interview, the defendant described the contact as “friendship”, stating he did not intend to have sex with the girl but got an “ego boost” from her attentions.
Mullen, from Court Farm Road in Cwmbran, admitted attempting to meet a child after grooming.
Hilary Roberts, defending, said his client had no previous convictions.
He added: “He is utterly ashamed of himself. He was at a low point in his life, perhaps lonely.” Mr Roberts said Mullen was “utterly bewildered” at his own behaviour.
Judge Gaskell said: “This is a serious offence.”
He told the defendant: “Frankly this is pathetic. You are a 66-year-old man. What on earth did you think you were doing?”
The judge described Mullen’s lie about his age as: “Some pathetic attempt to give yourself youth.”
He said: “You went on to say a paedophile is someone who preys on young girls, which is exactly what you did.”
The defendant, dressed in a dark suit, hung his head as he was sentenced.
Mullen was handed a 14-month jail term, suspended for two years, and made the subject of a 10-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order.
Former footballer stole £15,000 from high school to pay off his gambling debts
A community order was made, requiring him to complete 180 hours of unpaid work, 30 days of a rehabilitation activity and comply with a four-month curfew.
A spokesman for NSPCC Cymru said: “Although the child Mullen was arranging to meet was not real, the danger he poses to young children is.
“Children should be able to use the internet without fear of being preyed upon and groomed for abuse.”
He added: “Mullen has rightly faced the courts after being caught attempting to meet a child he thought he had groomed.
“But we believe that identifying offenders and investigating crimes like these is best left to the police.”