Gainsborough sex offender caught by sting in Newcastle

John Armitage Image copyright Lincolnshire Police
Image caption John Armitage was expecting to meet a young girl for sex after travelling to Newcastle

A convicted sex offender travelled 140 miles to meet a 14-year-old girl only to find himself caught by a paedophile hunter, a court heard.

John Armitage was expecting to have sex with the girl after arriving in Newcastle on a train from Gainsborough.

But when he arrived he was confronted and then arrested, Lincoln Crown Court was told.

Armitage, 40, of Warren Close, Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, was jailed for five years and nine months.

He was also placed on the sex offenders' register for life.

Armitage admitted attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming and a further offence of attempting to cause or incite a child to engage in sexual activity.

Both charges relate to the period between 12 March and 14 April last year.

Pretend to be dad

Phil Howes, prosecuting, said the defendant, who has previous convictions for offences against two young girls, had initially contacted "Ellie" on a dating app for over 18s.

In a series of messages he was told she was only 14 but he persisted and said he wanted to meet her for sex, telling her he would "be gentle".

Armitage suggested he contact her school pretending to be her father and arrange for her to have a week off.

But the court was told that "Ellie" was actually a member of the Net Justice Group using a fake profile.

Sentencing him, Judge Simon Hirst said: "Ellie told you she was 14 and her mum was very strict. She said she was from Newcastle and you suggested you meet up for a kiss and a cuddle.

"This case is aggravated by the persistent nature of the communications including you suggesting that you pretend to be Ellie's father and ring her school.

"You travelled to Newcastle intent on having sex with a 14-year-old girl."

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