Sailor sentenced after online grooming sting

Kyle Catmull (left) and Stevie TrapImage source, TRAP Community
Image caption,
Kyle Catmull (left) was confronted by so-called paedophile hunters from the group Trap

A Royal Navy sailor has been given a suspended sentence after being caught by so-called paedophile hunters who posed online as a 15-year-old girl.

Kyle Catmull, 21, pleaded guilty at an earlier hearing to attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming.

He was detained in July 2018 in Fareham, Hampshire, by members of the group Trap, which posted a video of the encounter online.

Catmull was given a 24-month suspended sentence.

Portsmouth Crown Court heard he was a few weeks from passing out from his training at HMS Collingwood in July 2018 when he went on a legitimate dating website Badoo.

Prosecutor Daniel Sawyer told the court that within six messages, the "girl" told him she was 15.

'Naive and stupid'

The conversation moved to WhatsApp and became sexualised before the pair arranged to meet at an Asda store in Fareham, with Catmull bringing a condom.

On his arrival he was confronted by members of Trap and later arrested.

Defence barrister Daniel Reilly said his client had accepted being "naive and stupid" but there were "no sinister features" with no pressure put on the girl for sex and no indecent images asked for or sent.

He said positive references about Catmull from the Royal Navy showed "the brightest of futures... now laying in tatters".

Judge William Ashworth said Catmull "should have ceased contact" with the girl when he realised she was under age but had shown "evident remorse".

Catmull, of Louth, Lincolnshire, was ordered to sign on the sex offenders register.

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