Jockey targeted in hate campaign after paedo sting operation

Exeter Crown Court

Exeter Crown Court - Credit: Archant

A seriously injured former jockey has been targeted in a hate campaign after being trapped by online paedophile hunters.

Terry Taylor sent sexual messages to a fictional 13-year-old girl whose profile had been put on Facebook by an internet vigilante.

He asked her to touch herself during one message and made arrangements to travel from his home near Holsworthy to meet her before realising his mistake and cancelling the trip.

Taylor, aged 56, is a former horseracing jockey who has been suffering from partial disability and agonising back pain since a heavy fall forced him to quit in 1991.

A judge at Exeter Crown Court suspended his sentence after hearing that he would lose his specially adapted housing association home if he went straight to jail.

Taylor has been targeted by vigilantes since his arrest in January and police installed a panic button after an effigy with a noose around its neck was left on his doorstep.

He made contact with the false profile after using a ‘find a friend’ feature on Facebook but told the decoy his own name, age and address.

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He sent the offending message while he was under the influence of strong pain-killing medication.

Taylor, of Bradworthy, near Holsworthy, admitted attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity and was jailed for two years, suspended for two years by Judge Timothy Rose.

He was also ordered to do 20 days of rehabilitation activities and put on the sex offenders’ register.

The judge told him: “There are very strong and exceptional circumstances which enable me to suspend this sentence.”

Mr Joss Ticehurst, prosecuting, said Taylor contacted what he thought was a 13-year-old girl called Katie on December 13, 2019, and his messages became sexual over the next few weeks.

He said he wanted to kiss her and on December 28 he told her that thinking about was making him aroused. Later that day, h asked her to touch her nipples and in a third exchange of messages at 10 pm, he asked her to put her hand down her pants.

He arranged to meet her in Bromley, Kent, where she claimed to live, and booked train tickets and three nights in a hotel, but cancelled them instead of leaving home.

Mr Richard Crabb, defending, said Taylor has been living in constant pain since a fall during a horse race when he was 26 and needs specially adapted accommodation to live an independent life.

He said he was using very heavy morphine-based painkillers when he sent the messages and is utterly ashamed of and disgusted with his behaviour.

There was no evidence of him searching for child images or any other suggestion of a sexual interest in children and he struck up the online conversation because he was lonely.

He told the girl his age in his first message and said she probably would not be interested in someone so much older. Mr Crabb said a real 13-year-old would probably have ended the chat at that point.

Mr Crabb said if was to Taylor’s ‘eternal credit’ that he had come to his senses and cancelled his attempt to meet the girl, but he had been visited by three paedophile hunters just days later.

He said: “The circumstances of his arrest do not do the so-called paedophile hunters any credit. Three of them banged on his door and windows and shouted through the letterbox.

“He hid until the police arrived. The paedophile hunters posted a video on Facebook and an effigy with a noose around its neck was found on his doorstep.”

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