AN ACCOUNTS manager from Leamington who began chatting to a young woman on an adults-only dating website continued their conversations and arranged to meet her after being told she was actually only 15.
In fact the girl Lewis Calder knew as Kayla did not even exist – and when he turned up to meet her he was confronted by someone who passed his details to the police.
Following his arrest the 27 year-old, of Kingsway, pleaded guilty to attempting to meet a child under the age of 16 following on-line grooming.
But at Warwick Crown Court he was given a nine-month jail sentence suspended for two years and ordered to take part in a probation-run rehabilitation activity.
Calder was also ordered to register as a sex offender for ten years and to pay £425 costs.
Prosecutor Anthony Cartin said the case resulted from ‘a sting operation by a man named Simon Hudson who set up a profile on an adults-only dating website.’
The profile described an adult female in her 20s, and it was only after contact was made by Calder that the fictional character was ‘revealed’ to be a 15-year-old girl called Kayla.
After first chatting on the website, they then began exchanging regular mobile phone messages ‘of a fairly inane nature’ via Whatsapp over a few days in August last year.
There was talk about whether she had a boyfriend, what type of boys she liked and asking for photographs of her, leading to pictures of someone who seemed to be a 15-year-old being sent.
Calder made several references to whether she was real, and also sent her a picture of himself in the bath.
The conversations culminated in an arrangement to meet at Coventry railway station when he had finished work.
He was asked to send a picture of himself so ‘Kayla’ would recognise him, and when asked where to find him, he said he would be in his Audi TT.
But while there he was approached and confronted by Mr Hudson and another person who filmed him and his car.
The recording was passed to the police who arrested Calder at his home shortly afterwards, and he admitted the offence but said he had believed at first Kayla was in her 20s.
William Douglas-Jones, defending, said: “He made full admissions in interview, and his remorse is shown both by that and by his letter today.
“Until these events Mr Calder was a man of good character in full-time employment as an accounts manager. He has a career which has upward mobility – but that career is at risk.”
Sentencing Calder, Recorder Adrian Redgrave QC pointed out that the police had carried out a search of Calder’s home for ‘inappropriate material,’ and had found none, and the probation service consider the risk of any similar conduct by Calder in the future to be low.