Man admits breaching court order imposed following paedophile hunter sting

Niall Horn will go on trial at Ipswich Crown Court

Niall Horn will go on trial at Ipswich Crown Court - Credit: ARCHANT

A man has reappeared in court for breaching a court order imposed after he was caught in a sting by paedophile hunters.

John Irving attended Ipswich Crown on Wednesday to admit breaching the requirements of a suspended sentence handed down last August.

The 57-year-old breached the order by failing to maintain regular contact with the probation service between January 27 and February 17 this year.

Irving received an eight-month jail term, suspended for two years, with 120 hours of unpaid work and 40 days of rehabilitation activity, after admitting four counts of attempting to engage in sexual communication with a girl under 16.

He had been caught on four occasions by women pretending to be 14, 13 and 12-year-old girls on behalf of 'paedophile hunter' groups.

He was arrested at his former address in Inverness Road, Ipswich, after being confronted by online vigilantes on July 4 last year.

Now of Walton Road, Clacton, Irving told the court he failed to keep in contact as a consequence of falling into a depression, but that his mental health had since improved and that contact had resumed.

A report by the probation service recommended that the breach could be dealt with by way of additional unpaid work hours.

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It said Irving had been open and honest about the breach, had "thoroughly enjoyed" completing the unpaid work requirement of the order, and had otherwise engaged positively with probation.

Judge Rupert Overbury imposed another 20 hours of unpaid work for the breach, telling Irving: "You have got to understand that any further breach is unlikely to get a sympathetic ear.

"Do it again, and it's likely the suspended sentence will be activated and you will go to jail."

When originally sentenced, Irving was said to be ashamed of his actions, had voluntarily attended counselling and ceased using any internet enabled smart devices from the moment of being charged.

He had been deemed by the probation service to be a low risk of re-offending.

He was ordered to sign the sex offenders’ register and was made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order for 10 years.

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