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Former Jarrow hospital worker who tried to have online sex chat with a 12-year-old girl avoids jail time | #childpredator | #onlinepredator | #hacking | #aihp

A “predatory” former hospital worker who tried to have online sex chat with a 12-year-old girl has kept his freedom.

Michael Hancock thought he was communicating with a vulnerable child who was in the care system and offered to buy her gifts then arranged to meet at a shopping centre.

The ex youth services and hospital employee told the girl to keep their conversations secret or he would be called a “paedo” and said if they were challenged while in public together they should say they were uncle and niece.

Newcastle Crown Court.

Their exchanges became sexual and Hancock sent her a picture of his private parts.

Newcastle Crown Court heard an undercover police officer was behind the fake profile, no child was involved in any of the communications and no meeting took place.

Hancock, 59, of Edinburgh Road, Jarrow, South Tyneside, admitted attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child.

Prosecutor Ian Cook told the court Hancock had made contact with a user on Chatiw, a messaging platform for adults, in October 2021 but was then told he was talking to a 12-year-old.

Despite being aware of her young age, Hancock continued the contact on Snapchat.

Mr Cook said: “The defendant stated he would buy gifts for her and that she should not let her family know about their conversations.

“The defendant arranged to meet her at the Metro Centre and during the course of the messages suggested if they saw anyone they knew they should say they are uncle and niece.

“He tells her to be careful as if he’s caught he would be called a paedo.” Mr Cook said the conversations became more sexual and Hancock started sending photographs.

He added: “He arranged to meet her at the Metro Centre but was intercepted and arrested by police officers and his mobile phone was seized.”

Judge Julie Clemitson told Hancock he believed he was chatting to a 12-year-old girl who was in care and added: “Rather than take the actions any responsible adult would have done, which was desist in talking to the child and even report the profile as a child putting themselves at risk, you instead chose to continue to chat and you did so in a way which has hallmarks of a predator, frankly.”

The judge added: “It is clear from the converstaions with that profile that youdo indeed have a sexual interest in young girls, however much you profess to the probation officer that you do not.

“Your behaviour was predatory and demonstrates that you do.”

Judge Clemitson sentenced Hancock to eight months imprisonment, suspended for two years, with rehabilitation requirements, a four month curfew and £350 costs order.

Hancock must sign the sex offenders register and abide by a sexual harm prevention order for ten years.

The judge said Hancock worked in youth services and hospitals in the past but will no longer come into contact with children or young people through that type of employment, can be safely managed in the community and can be given “one chance and one chance only”.

Sam Faulks, defending, said Hancock, who is no longer working, is of previous good character, has caring responsibilities for an elderly relative and has a realistic prospect of rehabilitation.

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