Another paedophile is jailed after vigilante poses as boy

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Joao Manuel Mendonca Gomes (27) was sent to prison for six months after he admitted trying to arrange a late-night meeting for a sexual encounter.

And like a number of other recent defendants, he was caught by the actions of Miss O’Connor, who was in court to watch the sentencing.

Miss O’Connor said that she was pleased that her efforts had been justified and that a jail term had been imposed, but not necessarily the length of sentence. ‘I think two years would’ve been about right,’ she said.

In imposing the jail term, the Magistrate, Bridget Shaw, said that she saw no reason to depart from previous sentencing guidelines in such cases.

First-offender Gomes pleaded guilty to a charge of attempting to meet a child aged 14 following sexual grooming.

Apart from the prison sentence, his name will remain on the Sexual Offenders Register for five years.

The court heard that Gomes thought he was meeting a boy called John outside Bean Around the World at 11 pm on 30 November. However, what he found was Miss O’Connor waiting for him in a car and she took his picture before he ran off towards Minden Place car park.

The court heard from legal adviser Susie Sharpe that the previous night Gomes had tried to persuade the ‘boy’ to come to his friend’s flat, where he and a friend were drinking.

Gomes sent a number of messages of a sexual nature that continued until 2 am.

He also sent pictures and a picture of the ‘boy’ was sent to him. Miss Sharpe said: ‘I don’t feel it is appropriate to go into any of the explicit detail.’

She said that contact began after creation of the profile on Grindr on Sunday 26 November and went on until 30 November. The defendant provided a mobile phone number so that they could communicate on internet messaging service WhatsApp.

During the messaging, Gomes was told that the young male was only 14 the previous month.

‘He was asked if he minded that the boy was so young and he said “No”.’

Gomes also suggested that the 14-year-old could stay at his home.

During the communication over the four days, Miss Sharpe said, Gomes was clearly indicating that he wanted to engage sexually.

‘Despite being advised that John was 14 in all of the messages, he said that he wanted to continue communicating with him,’ she said.

Advocate Niall MacDonald, defending, said there was no evidence Gomes had ever before tried to communicate with an under-age person. He submitted that the conversation was promoted out of ‘dangerous curiosity’.

‘He was quick to convey his remorse and guilt in police interview,’ said the lawyer, who added that Gomes had lived in Jersey for seven years and was a hard-working person with part-time jobs in both a hotel and a restaurant.

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