Grandfather of #seven, 64, is #snared by #paedophile #hunters after using the #gay #dating app #Grindr to try to meet a 15-year-old boy for #sex in Asda #car park


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This is the dramatic moment a married former local authority boss was caught on camera trying to meet a 15-year-old boy he befriended on Grindr.

George Applegarth, 64, who had a wife for 42 years, with three children and seven grandchildren, started chatting to who he thought was a teenage boy on the gay dating app.

Applegarth, of Murton, County Durham, had arranged to meet the underage teen at an Asda car park in Sunderland within two days of starting the chat.

But he had been duped by paedophile hunters Guardians of the North, who confronted him with a camera when he turned up – and had the police in tow.

Applegarth pleaded guilty at Newcastle Crown Court to attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming.

The court heard Applegarth had been told early in the online conversation in September that he was speaking to a 15-year-old boy called ‘Martin’.

He initially said the user was a ‘bit young’ but then engaged in explicit sexual chat.

Michael Bunch, prosecuting, said Applegarth made a full confession when he was questioned by the police.

Mr Bunch told the court: ‘He made full admissions, saying he had met a male he believed to be called Martin, who he believed to be 15, on the internet.

‘He had arranged to meet him for the purpose of having sexual activity.’

Judge Edward Bindloss sentenced Applegarth, who spent six weeks in custody on remand, to 12 months’ imprisonment, suspended for two years.

The sentence also came with programme requirements, a sexual harm prevention order and ten years on the sex offenders’ register.

The judge said Applegarth was a previous positive character but told him: ‘You knew from the outset that this was an underage boy.  You have lived a law abiding life up to this.

‘You are a good family man, married for 42 years with three sons and seven grandchildren. I accept this has had a devastating effect upon your relationship with your familiy.’

Judge Bindloss said ‘psychological and long lasting harm’ could have been caused to a real teenager involved in such an offence.

Vince Ward, defending, said: ‘This conviction destroys his hitherto good character. That is something which in itself is a form of punishment.’

Mr Ward said Applegarth, who has never been in trouble before, has sought help from mental health services during his time in custody.

The court heard he worked as a local authority manager before his retirement.


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