A MAN who used a library computer to chat to girls as young a 10 was jailed today (August 22), after he was caught talking to disguised adult vigilante paedophile hunters.

Paul Rickson of Barkham Road, Wokingham was arrested on March 6, after the paedophile hunters gave their 'mountain of evidence' to the police and in an interview, he complained he was addicted to computers and had fallen into a trap.

The judge Emma Nott, was told the convicted paedophile had been under the watchful eye of a support worker at the Wokingham Libary, when he logged onto Facebook and started contacting four different girls.

The girls each had a fake profile operated by four separate paedophile hunting groups.

The 41-year-old waited until his support worker’s back was turned before sending lustful messages to all the girls, who he knew to be underage, asking one of them whether she would like to get pregnant and trying to arrange to meet them for sex, the court heard.

Sentencing Rickson, Judge Emma Nott told him: “You found a way, going to the library and using the computer, with your support worker there, you found a way of waiting until he had gone off somewhere or his back was turned.”

Vigilantes from the groups STOP, the North-West Paedophile Hunters and One Reason gathered evidence of messages sent by Rickson where he was attempting to incite what he thought were underage girls into sexual acts, including penetrative sex, from December 10 last year to March 4 this year.

Defending Rickson, Maya Chopra said: “His learning disabilities, Aspergers and his very low intelligence mean that perhaps he does not view this sort of offending as someone neurotypical might.”

The judge, sitting at Reading Crown Court, heard that Rickson had been sectioned under the Mental Health Act in 2011 and in September 2016 he had been given a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) for other offences of sexually communicating with underage girls.

Judge Nott told Rickson: “There is a difficult background to your case.

“You were not sent to prison in 2016 and that is because your psychiatric background and your understanding are not the same as other people’s. You have an IQ in the low 60s and went to special schools.

“In 2011 you were telling psychiatrists that you knew if your behaviour did not stop you could go to prison. It would be wrong, not withstanding your difficulties, for me to impose anything other than a custodial sentence.”

He was sentenced to 16 months in jail, had a new SHPO put in place and was told he would be subject to notification requirements for 10 years.

Paul Rickson, appearing via video link from HMP Bullingdon in Bicester, Oxfordshire, thanked the judge before getting up to leave.