Paedo planned to pose as schoolgirls grandad for sordid McDonalds sex meeting

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    A twisted paedophile who believed he was exchanging messages with a 12-year-old girl begged for pictures of the child “in a sexy nightie or in her birthday suit”.

    Sicko Harry Croft, who unwittingly messaging an undercover police officer posing as a young girl, tried to arrange a meeting in McDonald’s by saying he would pretend to be the girl’s grad-dad if restaurant staff got suspicious.

    Liverpool Crown Court heard that the 61-year-old began communicating with what he thought was a 12-year-old child on a chatroom in November last year. Carmel Wilde, prosecuting, described how the pervert asked the girl to send him explicit photos.

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    Croft, from Liverpool, said he knew that "there are groups out there trying to trap men like me" and confessed that he was "scared of being found out".

    Nevertheless, reports the Liverpool Echo, Croft arranged to meet his victim at a McDonald's branch in Newton-le-Willows on Merseyside, and said that they would "pretend to be granddad and granddaughter" if anyone became suspicious.

    The pervert also told the decoy: "I've always wanted to see what it's like to be with a young girl. As we get on so well, it's only natural for us to try."

    Croft was arrested on December 20 at the arranged meeting point. When questioned by police, he said he had been on a website for over 18s and it had been a "fantasy, just playing along" – adding that he went to McDonald's to "see if anyone turned up" and that they would "have a laugh" if so.

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    The defendant has one previous conviction for two offences. David Rose, appearing on his behalf, told the court: "He has had some difficulties in coming to terms with and accept his guilt, but he accepts he committed the offences."

    Croft admitted attempting sexual communications with a child and arranging a child sex offence on Friday. He was jailed for 30 months, handed a 10-year sexual harm prevention order and told to sign the sex offenders' register for the same period.

    Sentencing, the Honorary Recorder of Liverpool Judge Andrew Menary KC said: "The reality is, you recognise, there must be a prison sentence for these matters. The hope is, when you have served it, you will not commit any further offences in the future."

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