A PREDATOR pensioner has been put behind bars after promising to bring a ‘young girl’ a McDonalds meal when they met up for sex.

Frederick Cottam believed he had arranged a sex rendezvous with a 12-year-old girl after days of vile explicit chats and sending illicit photos.

The 75-year-old great-grandad was in fact talking to a covert police officer responsible for snaring perverts demonstrating their sexual interest in children online.

This is a category in which Cottam falls, with a judge telling him he has a ‘deep-seated issue concerning his interest in underage children’.

The defendant was charged with arranging or facilitating the commission of a child sex offence, attempting to cause a child to watch sexual activity and attempted sexual communications with a child, and he appeared at Liverpool Crown Court, via videolink from HMP Altcourse, to be sentenced on Friday, January 27.

The court heard how the offences occurred between the end of November and start of December last year.

Cottam was speaking to someone he believed to be a 12-year-old girl named Izzy, but this decoy profile was in fact being operated by an undercover police officer tasked with identifying offenders online who have a sexual interest in children.

On November 28, at around 11am, ‘Izzy’ received a message from Cottam under the username WarBiker on the social media platform ChatIW.

She said that she was doing schoolwork, to which the defendant replied that he was ‘horny and lonely’.

When the ‘girl’ told him he should speak to an adult, the defendant asked her how good she was at keeping secrets from her parents.

Cottam asked if they could switch to Kik Messenger so they could exchange photos, to which the girl agreed, leading him to send a picture of himself.

After being sent a clothed photo of her, Cottam called the girl ‘lovely’ and commented on the size of her breasts.

He asked if she wanted to see a photo of his penis and then sent her one of him lying in bed naked, later stating he would go to Preston to meet her in person to ‘show her what sex is about’.

They arranged a date to meet up at a specific park next to the duck pond ‘where they would not be seen’, promising to bring her a McDonalds and that they would have sex.

The defendant discussed the things he would do to her and what he wanted her to do to him, but the night before he said he could no longer go due to a family illness, and they did not speak again.

Frederick Cottam was jailed at Liverpool Crown Court

Frederick Cottam was jailed at Liverpool Crown Court

The court heard that Cottam has one previous conviction from May 2018 for a similar offence of attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming, for which he was jailed for 12 months.

This offence saw him caught up in a ‘paedophile hunter’ sting in which he was snared grooming someone he believed to be 14-year-old girl named Ellie.

He sent explicit pictures to another decoy account and arranged to meet the supposed teenager in Newton-le-Willows.

Messages sent by the great-grandfather included ‘don’t worry about your age’, ‘let’s meet up, kiss and touch each other’s bodies’ and ‘you can’t get pregnant from me’.

He also detailed sexual acts he wanted to perform on the girl, and acts that he wanted her to perform.

When he arrived at the arranged meet-up, he was confronted by the paedophile hunters and arrested by police.

In defence of her client, who has seen all family ties cut through his offending, Bernadette Smith spoke of his expectation of a long prison sentence and how his best mitigation is his guilty plea.

“He wants intervention to try to understand and get to the crux of why it is that he is committing these offences at such a late stage in his adulthood,” she said.

The court also heard how he is assessed as posing a high risk of harm to children, but a low risk of reoffending, which judge David Aubrey commented ‘does not make much sense’

Before sentencing, he said: “These offences are so serious that only an immediate custodial sentence can be justified for them.

“There is no doubt you have a sexual interest in children, and that appears to be deep-rooted.

“You engaged in conversations with a person who you believed was under the age of 13, and conversations took place over a period of time which illustrates your deep-rooted paedophilia.”

Cottam, of Mason Avenue in Padgate, was sentenced to 56 months in prison

The court also ordered that he be the subject of sex offender registration and notification requirements indefinitely, as well as a sexual harm prevention order for 10 years.

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