Ottery predator, who was caught by paedophile hunters, avoids jail

Exeter Crown Court. Picture: Archant

Exeter Crown Court. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant

A chat room predator was caught by a group of online ‘paedophile hunters’ after he arranged to meet a 13-year old girl at a pizza restaurant, a court heard.

Jeremy Morrish, of Ottery St Mary, sent obscene webcam images of himself to what he thought were two 13-year-old girls but turned out to be members of the Exeter-based UK Database group.

He engaged in sexualised online chats with the two decoys, who used the names Georgia and Keira and told him repeatedly they were aged only 13.

He arranged to meet one of them outside a pizza restaurant in Cowick Street, Exeter.

Recycling worker Morrish, 46, of St Budeaux Close, admitted attempting to meet a child following grooming and attempted sexual communication with a child.

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On Friday (January 25), Morrish was jailed for 12 months, suspended for two years, and ordered to undertake sex offenders’ treatment during 30 days of rehabilitation activities.

He was put on the sex offenders register for ten years and banned from unsupervised contact with children for the same period by Judge Peter Johnson at Exeter Crown Court. He will have his internet activity monitored by the police.

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The judge told him: “You sent sexually explicit images and videos and arranged to meet one of the girls but were confronted by members of this group.

“To your credit, you did not prevaricate and were candid and remorseful in interview. You tick the box of being amenable to rehabilitation and so you should be given a chance to address your offending behaviour,”

Heather Hope, prosecuting, said Morrish used his own false internet identity of Tom44 on chat room sites, where both decoys had profiles suggesting they were 18.

Both decoys made it clear immediately that they were in fact 13 but he continued sending sexual messages. His first contact with Georgia was on October 29. He arranged to meet her in Cowick Street on November 17. He was also in contact with the other decoy Keira, who he sent an indecent video to.

Warren Robinson, defending, said the offences happened at a low point in Morrish’s life. A relationship had ended and he had moved back with his parents in Devon but was isolated socially and started to use chat rooms.

He has already started a course with the Lucy Faithfull Foundation and plans to move to Staffordshire to start a new life.

He said: “He knows he has only himself to blame. He has already lost a lot already and wants to engage with rehabilitation. He has expressed his shame time and again.”

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