Man brings McDonald’s to meet ‘girl’ at ‘paedophile hunter’ sting

A forklift truck driver offered to “pick up a McDonald’s” for what he thought was a 14-year-old girl only to be snared in a “paedophile hunter sting”.

Peter Martin, 44, now of HMP Altcourse but formerly Merton Bank Road, St Helens, contacted a “decoy” posing as a teenager on the MeetMe website on August 29 and she told him she was 14 years old, and he told her his age and asked for a photograph.

Fiona McNeill, prosecuting at Liverpool Crown Court, said the conversation with “Chloe” moved to WhatsApp and then Instagram and “became more sexualised” with Martin “asking to see the girl’s knickers” and for a pair of them.

He also asked her to perform a sex act on herself and suggested they could meet up for sexual activity.

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When asked why they should do this, Martin replied it was because “it was good” – and he told her to delete the messages.

They arranged to meet in Widnes on August 31.

Forklift truck driver and family man Martin offered to “pick up a McDonald’s” for the fictional girl.

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He was confronted by the decoy and a group of men upon arriving with the food.

Police were called and arrested him.

In interview, he denied any intent to commit sexual activity and maintained this denial even when confronted with the content of the messages.

He claimed that even though the decoy said she was 14, he thought she looked older.

A couple of days later on September 2, Martin pleaded guilty at North Cheshire Magistrates’ Court to attempting to meet a girl under 16 for sexual activity and arranging to meet a child for sexual activity.

Ms McNeill said Martin had no previous convictions.

Peter Martin, 44, formerly of Merton Bank Road, St Helens, turned up with a McDonald's meal for his intended victim in Widnes. Image provided by Save Our Children

Keith Jones, defence counsel, said Martin’s mother had died and while he did not seek to “minimise” the offences, he argued it was “some explanation as to why he’s acted in the way he has”, which he called “wholly out of character”.

Mr Jones said Martin had told him he was “truly ashamed and disgusted” with his actions, and realised his life will “no longer be the life he’s known”.

He urged Judge Anil Murray to consider the defendant’s guilty pleas along with the legal precedent relating to the Court of Appeal case of Privett and cases involving fictional victims, and to consider the prospect of a suspended sentence.

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Judge Murray sentenced Martin to 16 months in prison, immediate custody, and he placed Martin on the sex offenders register for 10 years and made him subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order, also 10 years.

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Describing the intervention in Widnes, Judge Murray said: “It was a sting operation and you were met by men instead.

“You took with you a McDonald's meal as you had agreed.”

He added: “I’m afraid this is a case where the appropriate punishment can only be achieved by immediate custody.”

A victim surcharge was also ordered.

Martin appeared via videolink today.

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