Leeds City Council officer exposed in online paedophile hunter sting

Paul Newby.
Paul Newby.

A Leeds City Council officer used his work e-mail to groom schoolgirls before encouraging them to send him explicit sexual images.

Paul Newby, 39, was caught after being exposed by a ‘paedophile hunter’ who he contacted via Facebook after being tricked into believing he was in touch with a 13-year-old girl in care.

Newby, a council tax and benefits officer with the local authority, was jailed for four years after pleading guilty to a string offences relating to grooming underage girls and inciting them into sexual activity.

A judge described his offending as “sophisticated predatory behaviour.”

Leeds Crown Court heard Newby became friends with a 14-year-old girl on Facebook before persuading her to send him sexually explicit photographs and a video of herself.

Newby, of Forest Bank, Gildersome, Leeds, told the youngster he was 25 years old and that he would marry her when she was 16.

He also offered to put money in the girl’s bank account so she could travel to meet him.

Andrew Haslam, prosecuting, said Newby also made contact with a fake Facebook profile set up by a man seeking to expose paedophiles.

Newby made friends with the ‘victim’, believing she was a 13-year-old girl who was in care in the Nottingham area.

Newby sent the video of the 14-year-old girl to the Facebook account as well as explicit images of himself.

He also offered to send money so he could meet up with the 13-year-old.

Police arrested Newby at his employer’s offices on March 8 this year.

Mr Haslam said Newby told officers that he had incriminating evidence on his phone before handing it over to them.

The prosecutor said: “He told them, as he was to repeat on a number of occasions, that he needed help and he told them, in fairness, that he would be honest with them.”

The next day police recovered the content of the Facebook conversions and contact he had made using his work e-mail.

Indecent movies and images were also found on his mobile phone.

Newby, of Forest Bank, Gildersome, pleaded guilty to two offences of attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity, one of attempting to cause a child to watch a sexual act, attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming, causing a child to engage in sexual activity, inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, causing a child to watch a sexual act, two offences of distributing indecent images of a child and three of making indecent images of a child.

Richard Reed, mitigating, said father-of-one Newby had felt a sense of relief at being caught and “has expressed a real desire to deal with his problem and overcome his difficulties.”

Mr Reed added: “The problem in society is that there is nowhere to turn.”

Detective Inspector Marc Bowes, who heads Leeds District Abusive Images Unit, said: “Newby has been convicted of serious child grooming and indecent image offences and we hope the significant sentence he has received will provide some source of reassurance to the victim and to the wider community.

“We remain committed to protecting children from those who seek to exploit them and our specialist officers will continue to pursue offenders like Newby to keep our communities safe.”

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