South Yorkshire sex offender back before the courts after being caught out by ‘paedophile hunter’ group

A South Yorkshire sex offender has been hauled before the courts again for attempting to get underage girls he met online to engage in sexual activity.

Tuesday, 12th March 2019, 5:39 pm
Updated Tuesday, 12th March 2019, 5:43 pm
Armitage admitted inciting sexual activity with a 15-year-old girl he met online

Nathan Armitage was sentenced to a three year community order in May 2016 for four counts of engaging in sexual activity with a 14-year-old girl. 

The 29-year-old was also made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order, which bans him from being in contact with any child under the age of 16 without the consent from a parent or social services.  

Armitage, of Osberton Street, Rawmarsh was hauled before Sheffield Crown Court again today for a string of sex offences that were committed both before and after the first set of crimes he was convicted of. 

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Christopher Dunn, prosecuting, told the court how Armitage befriended a 15-year-old girl online and told her he was a teenage girl called Amy. 

Mr Dunn said Armitage repeatedly asked the girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, to send him sexually explicit pictures of herself. 

The girl refused Armitage’s requests for pictures on a number of occasions in November 2015.

She eventually capitulated and sent him the pictures he requested, after he sent her a picture of a teenage girl in her underwear that he sourced from the internet but claimed was ‘Amy’. 

 

 

“The girl told officers she gave in because she was afraid of losing her friend,” said Mr Dunn. 

Some two years later in November 2017, Armitage was caught out by the online group, One Reason, who were described by Mr Dunn as ‘paedophile hunters’. 

This came after Armitage had been speaking to one of the group’s decoy accounts, who purported to be a 14-year-old girl, and arranged to meet the decoy girl to have sex.

“Luckily for the prosecution, the group arranged to meet Armitage outside Wombwell police station,” said Mr Dunn, adding that Armitage was later arrested.

Mr Dunn described how Armitage had also been talking to three other decoy accounts set up by One Reason, who claimed to be girls aged between 12 and 14-years-old. 

Armitage pleaded guilty to one count of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity; four counts of attempting to breach a sexual harm prevention order and four counts of attempting to cause or incite a child to engage in sexual activity at an earlier hearing. 

Mr Dunn said it was the Crown’s case that Armitage’s learning difficulties were not as severe as has been suggested in a psychiatric report requested by the defence. 

 

 

“I don’t want it to be suggested that his age and learning difficulties are such that he wouldn’t be able to understand that his behaviour is deviant,” said Mr Dunn, adding that Armitage’s ability to use social media platforms to manipulate his targets suggested he had a certain degree of understanding. 

Andrew Smith, defending, said: “Intellectually speaking, when the defendant is speaking to people; he is speaking to people his own age.”

He added: “This is a man who struggles to understand how wrong his behaviour is, which is often a factor when dealing with children of eight or nine-years-old.” 

Judge Graham Reeds QC adjourned sentence until April 26 this year, to allow for the prosecution to commission a further psychiatric report through which Armitage’s mental abilities and understanding of ‘grooming behaviour’ will be assessed. 

“The fact I’m adjourning the hearing for a psychiatric shouldn’t be taken as an indication I will treat the matters due for sentence more or less seriously,” said Judge Reeds. 

Armitage was released on bail until his next court appearance.