Beds, Herts & Bucks

Grooming accused 'dislikes young girls'

Thomas De-Castle-Lynne Image copyright SBNA
Image caption Thomas De-Castle-Lynne was confronted by "paedophile hunters" at Stevenage railway station, a court heard

A man accused of biting the tip off a so-called paedophile hunter's finger told a court he dislikes teenage girls.

When Thomas De-Castle-Lynne, 46, was asked if he had an interest in young girls, he told jurors at St Albans Crown Court: "Hell no - they annoy me."

He was confronted by a group called Catching Online Predators in Stevenage after allegedly arranging to meet a 14-year-old girl for sex in March.

Mr De-Castle-Lynne denies five charges, including grooming and common assault.

The jury heard the kitchen porter, who was living at a YMCA, arrived at the town's railway station expecting to meet a young girl called Maddie, but she was a fictional teenager the anti-paedophile group had created on Facebook.

In the witness box, Mr De-Castle-Lynne, of Parsons Green, Hammersmith, London, said that when he saw the profile online, he thought it had been done by an adult or a professional.

His barrister Daniel O'Malley asked: "If you knew it was not a real person, why get involved?"

Mr De-Castle-Lynne, who suffers from ADHD, replied: "I just wanted to p*** the person off. To wind them up and tease them and call them out."

Image copyright Google
Image caption St Albans Crown Court heard the struggle took place at Stevenage train station

When Mr O'Malley asked why he then agreed to meet, Mr De-Castle-Lynne replied: "I don't like fake people."

He also denied contacting three other "girls" on Facebook, saying his account had been hacked.

Earlier, the court heard how Mr De-Castle-Lynne was surrounded by people from Catching Online Predators when he arrived at the station.

During a struggle, it is said he bit off the tip of Stephen Little's left little finger, which left him in "excruciating pain".

The trial continues.

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