A MAN who groomed a person he believed to be a 13-year-old girl online in Prestatyn has been jailed.

Barry Johnson, 70, of Fennycroft Road, Hemel Hempstead, but living in Prestatyn at the time of his offending, was sentenced to three years and four months’ imprisonment at Caernarfon Crown Court today (September 7).


He had previously admitted charges of attempting to cause a child to engage in sexual activity, facilitating commission of sexual activity with a child, and attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child.


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Prosecuting, Karl Scholz told the court that a member of vigilante group STOP (Secretly Tackling Online Predators) made a fake online profile in the name of “Athena”, a 13-year-old girl.

Mr Scholz said it is not the practice of Stop UK to initiate conversation, but to wait for contact to be made, while the child’s age would be made clear, and engagement would be “bland and non-committal”.

Johnson sent a friend request to “Athena” on April 13, which was accepted; after which, he was told by “Athena” that she was 13.

Despite this, Johnson told her she was “beautiful”, “sexy”, “perfect”, and his “young lady”, before requesting naked pictures of her.

He asked if he could have sexual intercourse with her, saying that it would be “perfect”, and instructed her how to perform a sex act on herself.

Johnson then booked a room at hotel in Sheffield for one adult and child, and proposed to “Athena” that they stay there together.

“Athena” was sent pictures of the hotel room by Johnson, as well as explicit images of himself.

He also spoke of “walking in the woods” with her and his wish to “tie her up”.

Johnson was arrested at his then-home address in Prestatyn on April 30, before giving no comment in his police interview the following day.

Defending Johnson, who had no previous convictions, John Wyn Williams said he has used his time on remand in custody “constructively”.

He has obtained a job in prison, and spends time in the facility’s sports hall on weekends.

Johnson understood that a custodial sentence was “inevitable”, Mr Wyn Williams said, adding that he is “full of remorse” and has described his own behaviour as “disgusting”.

A father and grandfather, Johnson had been married for 49 years but has lost contact with his family since his offending came to light, despite his attempts to regain it.

Sentencing, Judge Timothy Petts also made Johnson subject to sex offenders register notification requirements for life, and imposed a 10-year sexual harm prevention order on him.

Johnson will pay a statutory surcharge upon his release from prison.

Judge Petts told him: “It’s quite clear that you were grooming someone you thought was a genuine 13-year-old girl. It’s only by chance that no 13-year-old girl in this conversation was actually at risk.

“It’s clear to me that part of what excited you was the thought that you were having this sexually explicit conversation, and making plans, with a 13-year-old girl.

“It goes without saying that children have to be protected from adults with such intentions as yours.”