Indian student who lives in the UK was busted when going to meet someone he thought was a 14-year-old girl he had been chatting with on WhatsApp. “Let me go and I’ll start working for you for free”, he tells the paedophile hunters in a bizarre plea to persuade them to let him go.
According to the Daily Mail, Minesh Patel, 27, had been having sexual chat on WhatsApp with a person he thought was a teenage girl. But unknown to him, the ’14-year-old girl’ did not even exist. He was actually chatting with paedophile hunters – undercover group Guardians of the North who had disguised themselves as the underage girl.
Patel of Harrow, London, was on his way to meet someone he thought was the child at Gateshead Metro Station but was confronted at the nearby interchange by the undercover group.
The group filmed his reaction as he repeatedly cries out ‘please sir’. He told them he has a ‘good past’ in his native India and that he is ‘new’ to this country as a student.
But one hunter replies: ‘Your studies are at end now, you will not be allowed to study criminology. Your studies will be terminated.’
Appearing to be at his wits’ end, Patel pleads: ‘I can work for you for free.’
The group member replies: ‘No, you cannot work for us for free. Not at all.’
Another one adds: ‘I can’t believe you just said that.’
Patel was arrested shortly afterwards and charged at Newcastle Crown Court.
Prosecutor Tom Mitchell said: ‘Kay Bell is a member of that group and set up a decoy profile in the name Laurie purporting to be a 14-year-old girl.
‘On the 4th of February 2020 she was contacted by the defendant with the username rahulpatel 26 on the Meet 4 U internet site.
‘Shortly thereafter at three minutes past seven pm he sent her a WhatsApp message followed immediately by a message asking for photos.
‘At 21 minutes past seven he was talking about kissing and within two minutes was talking about sex. He said that he was in Middlesbrough and sent a general location indicator to that effect.
‘On the 9th of February he asked to meet the girl and if she liked sex, saying that it was good for the health.’
Mr Mitchell added that Patel went on to ask about her clothing and underwear, and was persistent in asking for pictures which were refused.
He also asked for money to be able to take a bus to her address in Chester-le-Street, County Durham but was told she had none because she was 14.
Mr Mitchell added: ‘Eventually they made an ‘agreement’ to meet at Gateshead Metro station on the 19th of February last year.
‘He arrived by bus and was recognized by the Guardians of the North members from the photo he had sent to the decoy.’
The court heard Patel initially denied meeting an underage girl for sex but then did make admissions, and said: ‘I’m sorry, I will not do it again let me go.’
Tony Cornberg, defending, suggested to the court that the best course of action would be to suspend any custodial sentence, or issue a community order to offer the best chance of rehabilitation, and that the offending was born out of Patel being isolated.
Mr Cornberg said: ‘Mr Patel is clearly someone of ability and someone who is well aware that he may have spoiled his chances of a career in this country.
‘He is supported by three family members in court. They appear to strike a balance between being supportive but clearly not condoning in any way what he did.’
Patel pleaded guilty to attempting to cause or incite a child into sexual activity and one count of attempted grooming.
He was sentenced to 28 months imprisonment, made subject to a sexual harm prevention order for ten years and must sign the sex offender’s list.
Judge Robert Adams told him: ‘You are clearly intelligent and of some ability and in the UK on a student visa doing a postgraduate program.
‘You have family in this country and your remorse is also in connection to the effect upon them.
‘You believed the sites were for adults and didn’t expect children to come across on them.
‘But you were told by the decoy Laurie that you were communicating with a 14-year-old.’
The judge told him that the sentence passed was too long to suspend and only immediate custody was appropriate.
We reported similar incident in 2018 about Indian man who ended up in jail after traveling to meet someone he thought was a Facebook lover. He is now warning people not to fall in love on Facebook. Read here.
Who are the paedophile hunters?
According to the BBC, Phil Hoban, from Beeston in West Yorkshire, UK, established the group Predator Exposure in 2016.
Members set up fake online profiles, supposedly belonging to teenagers, and wait for adults to contact them.
“We don’t start a conversation with them – they come to us,” Mr Hoban said.
Once contact has been made they would confront the suspect, usually filming the operation, before handing their evidence to the police.
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