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Jail for pervert trapped by 'paedo hunters' in Wolverhampton’s West Park

By John Scott | Wolverhampton | Crime | Published:

A pervert trapped by a group of paedophile hunters is starting a two-and-a-half-year jail sentence.

James Coates was arrested after attempting to meet a child in West Park in Wolverhampton

James Coates believed he was communicating with a 13-year-old boy after responding to a post on the website Grindr, Wolverhampton Crown Court heard.

In fact the false profile was provided by a decoy from First Line Defense, an organisation that trawl the internet in the hope of exposing those who prey on youngsters.

The 47-year-old defendant, who called himself Max, contacted the ‘boy’ and suggested they held future conversation in private on WhatsApp, which provides encrypted communication.

They continued to contact each other and Coates was sent a generic picture of a boy after asking for a photo of the child he though he was communicating with. He sent a snap of himself in a car.

“The conversation then moved to sexual matters and organising a meeting,” said Mr Paul Spratt, prosecuting.

On January 25 the defendant indicated he had met another boy in similar circumstances, although it is not known if that claim was true, the court was told.

A meeting was set to take place at Wolverhampton’s West Park on January 28 and Coates arrived with two condoms 10 minutes before the arranged rendezvous.

The man who posed as the ‘boy’ recognised him from the photograph sent during their internet conversations and alerted police who arrested the suspect, explained Mr Spratt.

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Coates had a string of previous convictions for serious sexual offences against young boys which had led to him serving a six-year jail sentence.

He accepted being involved in some kind of sexual chat but insisted he had neither asked the ‘boy’ for sex nor given details of what they might do when they met.

Miss Samantha Forsyth, defending, pointed out there had been no physical contact because the ‘child’ did not exist.

Judge James Burbidge QC said it was ‘highly suspicious’ Coates had arrived at the proposed meeting with two condoms but it was not certain the man was ready for sexual activity with the ‘13-year-old.’

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The defendant, from Carter Road, Whitmore Reans, admitted attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming and was sentenced to two years and seven months behind bars.

Coates was told by the judge: “I believe you present a risk of future offending but am not convinced it is a significant risk.

"I hope that work can be done during your sentence to ensure the public are protected on your release.”

John Scott

By John Scott
Reporter/News Feature Writer

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