A MAN who believed he was having sexual chats with children has been sentenced to spend years behind bars.

Aled Jones, 32, of Dewi Avenue, Holywell appeared before Mold Crown Court to be sentenced for a variety of charges of attempting to arrange sexual activity with children as young as 10.

Oliver King, prosecuting, told the court how Jones admitted in the magistrate’s court to seven offences relating to his attempts with three girls to engage in sexual communication and facilitate meeting them to perform sexual acts.

The three girls in contact with Jones were in fact adult decoys – two of whom posed as 14-year-old girls and one told Jones they were just 10.

Using a messaging app, Jones contacted each of the decoy children and began engaging in sexualised chats which included sending images of his genitals and encouraging the ‘girls’ to do the same.

The court was told about one ‘girl’ who was operated by an adult woman that belongs to a group called Soloceptors – an online community that is dedicated to unmasking individuals that attempt to sexually abuse children.

The court heard that between December 11 and 16, Jones messaged the first of the decoy accounts to exchange pictures and messages.

The decoy made it clear that she was 14 years old which did not deter Jones, who enquired about the child’s choice of underwear and asked if she would like a boyfriend before escalating to more explicit content.

Jones also continued to encourage the child to send pictures of herself and asked on multiple occasions about meeting to engage in sexual activity.

Jones exchanged photos of himself with the girl – including ones exposing his naked torso and of his own genitals – and was said to have told the decoy about sexual fantasies he had about her.

The prosecution says that the second decoy – also posing as a 14-year-old girl – was a fake profile that Jones had also reached out to on December 11.

The court was told that, much like the first account, Jones would build a ‘rapport’ with the decoy before moving the conversation onto intimate questions. His messages would turn sexual and the 32-year-old began requesting pictures of the girl and asked about if she wore tight clothing.

He asked if this child had ever had a boyfriend and asked if he could join her in the shower.

In the days that followed, he continued to encourage the decoy to send pictures and engage in sexual conversations. The prosecutor said at several points, Jones ‘pleaded’ with this decoy for pictures of her bottom.

These conversations ended on December 18 after a week of messages and pictures were exchanged.

The final decoy account was for a girl pretending to be aged just 10 – which she repeatedly made clear to Jones in their conversations to follow.

The court heard that Jones reached out to the decoy on October 14 and their messages became sexual in nature within a few exchanges.

He would ask this child for pictures of herself and proposed they meet up in person. He would ask her inappropriate questions about her ‘developing body’. The decoy would tell Jones she was uncomfortable with this type of chat which did not deter him.

Messages would follow the same pattern of ‘friendly chat’ followed by requests for pictures of their naked body and talking about meeting them for sexual activity.

The court was told this account was also sent a photo of his genitals but asked her ‘not to tell her mum and dad’. He asked for a similar picture from the 10-year-old in return.

This account also got the most explicit message in the prosecutors’ view – where Jones explicitly said he wanted to have sex with the child. In the days that followed, he asked to meet the youngest decoy and talked to her in detail about these sexual fantasies he had.

Mr King told the judge how Jones, with all the girls, never kept a secret of who he was. He shared his full name and where he was from in Flintshire. 

The court was told how the group conducted a ‘sting’ operation on Jones – which the prosecution said involved group members turning up at a location where the target would be expecting to meet a child and confront them with evidence and posting this to social media.

This was the case for Jones – who was confronted on the doorstep of his family home whilst the accusations were live streamed to Facebook. North Wales Police took over and were satisfied that offences had taken place so arrested Jones on December 22.

At the custody station, he declined legal representation saying, “I’ve done what I’ve done”, according to the prosecutor.

In police interviews, he prepared a statement expressing his wish to apologise before refusing to answer questions. In a second interview, he did give more detail and admitted that he thought he was messaging with real children.

He maintained that he did not actually meet any children and would not have done so – despite the tone of the messages.

Andrew Green, defending, told the court that mitigation must come from the fact that no actual children were exposed to harm in this situation.

He says that Jones understands the situation he faces is very serious and adds that it is clear from the outset that this kind of crime had the potential to cause serious harm, representing that Jones has a deep sexual interest in children.

Mr Green says that the exposure of these offences has ‘broken’ Jones’ family apart. It forced his wife to leave and have any contact with his own two children be supervised closely.

He asks, however, that Mr Jones’ previous character of being a ‘family man’ be taken into account as well as having no previous convictions and allow him to rebuild his life from scratch.

The judge, Timothy Petts, passed a sentence of two years and four months for Jones.

He told Jones that these a ‘very serious offences’ that took place over several weeks – and months in the case of the youngest decoy. He adds that Jones ‘never hesitated’ when knowing their age – which was stressed by the decoy accounts on multiple occasions.

The judge said it is thankful that these victims were fictional and no actual sexual harm was caused.

When passing his sentence, Judge Petts also ordered a forfeiture and destruction order of Jones’ mobile phone. He was also made to register as a sexual offender for ten years.