Watch businessman who tried to meet young girl for sex beg paedophile hunters to let him go

Married Alan Leightley, of Fenham, told who he thought was a 15-year-old he wanted to take her virginity during a six-month grooming campaign

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This is the moment a businessman who begged paedophile hunters to let him go was snared after trying to meet an underage girl for sex.

Married predator Alan Leightley told who he thought was a 15-year-old he wanted to take her virginity after a six-month grooming campaign.

When he turned up at Newcastle Central Station to meet “Amy” he was confronted by Dark Justice, who had set up the decoy profile.

When Leightley realised he had been collared, in January, he begged the group members to let him go, otherwise his life “would be destroyed”.

But the police were on their way and now the 55-year-old has been jailed for 12 months for attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming.

Judge Simon Batiste, at Newcastle Crown Court, told him: “Your conduct continued over a period of a number of months. She was continually telling you she was at school.

“You told her you would love to be her first, clearly referring to taking her virginity.

“You said you would be gentle and patient with her so it wouldn’t hurt.

“The message has to go out to people who try to meet young girls after sexual grooming, they must realise immediate custodial sentences will follow.”

The Law Courts (Crown Court) on Newcastle's Quayside (Image: Newcastle Chronicle)
The Law Courts (Crown Court) on Newcastle’s Quayside (Image: Newcastle Chronicle)

The court heard Leightley had groomed the decoy girl on the Whisper mobile app and WhatsApp.

During the conversations, which started last summer, he told the youngster he was performing a sex act on himself while looking at images of her and told her she was “gorgeous”.

Leightley, of Elder Drive, Fenham, Newcastle, claimed if a real teen had turned up he would have “talked to her and hugged her as she seemed lonely” but would not have done anything sexual.

The court heard he has no previous convictions or cautions but was given a fixed penalty notice in 2014 for carrying out a sex act on himself in a park in North Tyneside – something he denies.

As well as the prison sentence, Leightley must sign the sex offenders register for 10 years and abide by the terms of a sexual harm prevention order for life.

Annalisa Moscardini, defending, said Leighley had been “having a very hard time” when he committed the offence.

She added: “His business had failed, his marriage was in difficulty, he had taken to the internet, something a lot of people do to feel better about themselves.

“He has been very stupid.”

Miss Moscardini said Leightley had paid the fixed penalty notice in 2014 but had not actually been carrying out the sex act in the park.

She said he has a job and is working to save his marriage.