Predator Exposure catch man who invited 'schoolgirl' to his West Yorkshire hotel
A man visiting West Yorkshire from Abu Dhabi offered money to a 'schoolgirl' he met online as he tried to persuade her to go to his hotel room for sex.
Leeds Crown Court heard Mohamed Choughuley had travelled to the UK on January 9 this year to help his daughter get settled in at university.
After creating an account for the online dating site Meet24, he made contact with 'Hayley' whose profile stated she was 14 years old.
Writing as 'Mac', he sent a number of messages asking about the girl's picture, her age and whether she lived in Leeds.
The court heard the girl replied to say she was 14 and said goodbye, but Choughuley continued to send messages and offered to pay her for sex.
Further messages were then exchanged through the dating site and via WhatsApp on both his overseas and UK mobile phone numbers.
Despite being repeatedly told the girl was 14, he suggested that she visit his hotel room and sent an explicit image of himself.
In reality, he had been exchanging messages with an adult member of Predator Exposure.
Five members of the 'paedophile hunting' group then confronted him at the hotel on the evening of January 16 and detained him until police arrived.
Choughuley, 51, admitted in police interviews that he had sent the messages but said he believed Hayley was a grown woman pretending to be a schoolgirl.
He later pleaded guilty to attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming.
Geraldine Kelly, mitigating, said it was clear Choughuley had changed his mind as the planned meeting approached and messages had been sent telling Hayley to go home instead.
"He was coming to his senses with thoughts of his family dominating his mind," she said.
She said the father-of-three was an Indian national living in Abu Dhabi with his wife and youngest child, who needed treatment for a heart condition.
The law there meant that his wife was unable to have control of any of their finances, including the family's medical insurance.
While Choughuley had been held on remand awaiting sentence, his wife had been forced to get money from other relatives to fund her son's continuing treatment.
Miss Kelly said the family would also have to leave the country if Choughuley were to be jailed and lose his job there.
"Being in custody for the first time in his life has been a salutary experience," she said. "Because of his offending, because of the situation he put his family in, he's very sorry and very distressed."
Judge Simon Phillips QC told Choughuley: "This was very serious offending. The fact this involved a decoy as opposed to an actual 14-year-old child does not fundamentally reduce the seriousness of your offending because you perceived that you were communicating with a child."
But he said he accepted that there had been a last minute change of heart, Choughuley had been assessed as being at low risk of re-offending and locking him up immediately would have a disproportionate impact upon innocent members of his family.
Handing Choughuley a 12-month prison sentence suspended for two years, he said: "You have put not only your own future but that of your family in serious jeopardy.
Judge Phillips said he must sign the sex offenders' register for 10 years and would be made subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for 10 years.
Choughuley must also pay £500 in court costs and a victim surcharge.