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Creep who wanted 'naked fun in the woods' with 14-year-old girl jailed


John Martin
John Martin

By Ciaran Barnes Chief Reporter

A DANGEROUS paedophile has been jailed after being snared by predator hunters in an undercover sting.

John Martin was sentenced to four months behind bars on Friday after pleading guilty to sexual communication with a child and attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming.

Due to time served on remand, he will be freed later this month.

Belfast Magistrates Court heard the father-of-one, who has learning difficulties, was arrested last September after trying to lure what he thought was a 14-year-old girl to a forest near his former home on Deerfin Park in the Rathcoole estate in Newtownabbey.

What Martin (inset) did not know was that he was speaking to an online paedophile hunter group which confronted him on Church Road while an under-18 rave was taking place nearby.

They forcibly detained the 52-year-old, who claimed in recorded footage that he was "going to Tesco to buy my wife pants", until the PSNI arrived.

In online chats the paedophile said he wanted to take the girl "into the woods" and "have some naked fun". He also made highly sexual comments about his genitalia.

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Martin, who was born in Northern Ireland but grew up in England, tried to flee the paedophile hunters on several occasions.

He was held back each time and threatened with "being put on the ground". Martin then told them: "I'm really sorry. This won't happen again."

When asked what he would have done had he met the fictitious girl, he replied: "We were going to go to KFC and get a burger and then we were going to go into the woods. We were going to have some naked fun."

After his arrest, Martin was bailed to a hostel in Ballymena, but he had to flee the premises after locals discovered he was charged with child sex offences.

The predator was taken into custody and has been behind bars for the past three months. He has just weeks of his sentence left to serve.

The PSNI opposes paedophile hunter groups because their methods almost always result in failed prosecutions.

They often mistake legislation regarding citizen arrests and powers of detention, leading to cases collapsing.

Senior cops have also questioned the backgrounds of many involved, with criminals known to play a role.

It cannot be denied, however, that there is some public support for their actions. Several such groups are active in Northern Ireland, including the one that trapped John Martin, who was prosecuted last Friday.

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