‘Dangerous’ sex offender sent back to prison after attempting to meet ‘girl’ for sex in Sheffield
A ‘dangerous’ sex offender from Sheffield who attempted to meet an individual he believed to be a 14-year-old girl for sex has been sent back to prison for over two years.
41-year-old Earl Whyman committed his most recent set of offences between June and July last year, after initiating contact on the SayHi chat app with someone he believed to be a 14-year-old girl called ‘Ellie’.
Louise Gallagher, prosecuting, told the court that the profile was being operated by members of an online ‘vigilante’ group who seek to bring paedophiles to justice.
Whyman, of Mount Road, Highfield exchanged telephone numbers with the decoy, and they began speaking privately over WhatsApp.
“The defendant was obviously concerned that he might be communicating with an adult decoy, rather than a child,” said Ms Gallagher, adding that Whyman told ‘Ellie’ he believed her account was fake and that she was trying to ‘set’ him up.
Ms Gallagher says Whyman subsequently had a phone conversation with one of the people operating the decoy account, which appeared to quell his suspicions.
“The messages continued, and quickly became sexual...he asked when she was going to run away from home and move in with him so they could live like boyfriend and girlfriend,” said Ms Gallagher.
Whyman and the decoy arranged to meet at Meadowhall on July 6 last year, but Whyman subsequently cancelled due to family problems.
“The decoy and her associate decided to take things into their own hands and attended at his address on July 8 and confronted him. The police were contacted and the defendant was arrested,” said Ms Gallagher
Whyman’s electronic devices were taken for analysis, and police found four videos classed as ‘extreme pornography’ which involved beastiality.
The court was told Whyman’s criminal record dates back to 1994 and includes convictions for a variety of sex offences.
Most significantly, in 2009 he was sentenced to three years in prison for inciting a girl under 16 to engage in sexual activity and was also given an extended license period of three years after being deemed to be ‘dangerous’.
He was also made the subject of an indefinite sexual harm prevention order, the purpose of which was to try and prevent Whyman from committing further sexual crimes by imposing a strict set of conditions on his use of the internet and the contact he is allowed to have with children. Whyman breached this order in 2011.
Defending, Sajid Majeed, told the court that Whyman has recently been diagnosed with an intellectual developmental disorder.
“The best point of mitigation that can be made is his early guilty pleas,” said Mr Majeed.
He added: “To give you some background, this is a 41-year-old man who has no family and friends, no support network in place. He lives a very solitary life at home on his own.”
Whyman pleaded guilty to offences of attempting to meet a child under 16 after grooming; attempting to breach a sexual harm prevention order and possession of extreme pornography.
The Recorder of Sheffield, Judge Jeremy Richardson, jailed Whyman for 28 months, but warned online ‘vigilante’ groups to ‘leave it to the professionals’.
“I know, well it’s to be hoped, that they [the vigilante groups] mean well but these things are much better left to the police, Crown Prosecution Service and the courts,” said Judge Richardson.
Judge Richardson said he believed Whyman to be ‘dangerous’ but did not believe he met the criteria necessary to impose an extended license period when considering the set of offences he was dealing with him for.
He said: “There are dangers about you, but within the context of this case, I don’t think I would be justified in making you a dangerous offender with all of the ramifications involved. The public are still protected because I’m making an indefinite sexual harm prevention order with tight conditions.”