Cambridgeshire

British paedophile Paul Charles Wilkins jailed in US

Paul Charles Wilkins Image copyright Archant
Image caption Paul Charles Wilkins was sentenced at the Federal Courthouse in Los Angeles

A paedophile who travelled to the US from Britain to have sex with boys has been sentenced to 13 years in a federal prison by a Los Angeles Court.

Paul Charles Wilkins, 70, of Littleport, Cambridgeshire, flew to California in January 2016.

He was caught in an undercover sting and faced several charges, but under a plea agreement pleaded guilty to taking pornographic images into the country.

He was also ordered to pay a $25,000 (£20,400) fine.

Wilkins, who holds dual UK and US citizenship, was jailed for 56 months in the UK in 2011 for possessing indecent images of children.

He was on probation when he left the UK on 31 January last year, travelling to California to "engage in illicit sexual conduct" with two boys aged 10 and 12, US officials said.

Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption Wilkins was arrested after paying an undercover officer to arrange for him to have sex with a boy in Palm Springs

Wilkins had set up an online site enabling him to arrange to meet boys, and had made the journey to the US after a man apparently offered him sex with his two sons.

When that plan failed to materialise, Wilkins fell prey to a sting operation set up by undercover agents.

They contacted him via the online group administered by Wilkins, and used by people with a "sexual interest in children".

He paid one of the agents $250 (£204) for sex with a nine-year-old Mexican boy in Palm Springs.

But the boy did not exist and Wilkins was arrested on 11 February after handing over the money for his "share" in the child.

Wilkins initially denied four charges of travelling with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct, attempted sex trafficking of children, possession of child pornography and transportation of child pornography.

In September he pleaded guilty to the latter charge under a plea agreement with the US Attorney's Office.

"This defendant persistently engaged in the sexual exploitation of children," said United States Attorney Eileen M Decker.

"Today's sentence ensures that children will be protected from his abhorrent conduct for many years."

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