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Paedophile grandad walks free despite using neighbour's WiFi to message girl, 13

Liverpool Echo logo Liverpool Echo 14/12/2021 Lynda Roughley & Abigail Nicholson

A grandad sent filthy messages to a 13-year-old girl on Facebook by using his neighbour's WiFi.

Liverpool Crown Court heard how Paul Rainford, 66, began messaging the schoolgirl in summer 2019 after finding her Facebook profile.

His activities came to light because the girl's mum had only allowed her to have a Facebook account provided it was linked to her older brother’s girlfriend’s account.

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The brother’s girlfriend spotted the messages Rainford had sent were “clearly sexual” and involved various lewd terms.

David Polglase, prosecuting at Liverpool Crown Court on Tuesday, December 14, said: “The inference to be drawn from the sending of the messages was that they were sent for the purpose of obtaining sexual gratification.”

The girlfriend told the girl’s mother, who then took over the conversations with the defendant, pretending to be her daughter, and she told him she was only 13 but despite this he continued sending sexual messages, said Mr Polglase.

She told the police who found there was a link to a Gmail address and his telephone, which was registered to his wife. These were used to verify his Facebook account which showed an IP link to a neighbour of Rainford.

Merseyside Police understandably suspected he was involved and he was dragged in for questioning. He explained that Rainford lived over the road and he allowed him to use his WiFi.

When Rainford was arrested and interviewed he initially repeatedly lied but “then did a sudden volte face and made admissions,” said Mr Polglase.

Judge David Swinnerton told Rainford: “You obviously had a sexual interest in talking to dirty to a 13-year-old girl.


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“You deny that. In your pre-sentence report you do yourself no favours, you have not properly owned up yet to what you have done and not explored why you have done it.”

In an impact statement the victim’s mum said that she had wanted to allow her freedom but make sure she was safe with her account being monitored.

She added: “You never expect it will happen to your child so I am grateful I put these controls in place.”

The mum said he had continued sending messages after she said she was 13.

She added: “I felt sick, I could not stop imagining what would have happened if we had not found out.”

Rainford, of Cartmel Road, Huyton, pleaded guilty to attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child in the summer of 2019.

Judge Swinnerton said the girl’s photograph on her Facebook account clearly showed she was not more than 13 and was plainly a schoolgirl. In the online conversations with her mum, still thinking he was talking to the child, he asked if she wanted to watch him performing a sex act on video.

The judge said: “I have read letters from your wife and daughters and they describe you as a good father and good parent and so you may have been to them.”

But he added that to the victim’s mum: “You were her worst nightmare, a sexual predator contacting her 13-year-old daughter.”

The judge pointed out that although he had not deliberately used his neighbour’s WiFi to commit the offence “the result of that being someone else ended up under suspicion and spending a day at a police station.”

He sentenced Rainford to ten months imprisonment suspended for two years and ordered him to carry out 20 days of rehabilitation activities and 100 hours of unpaid work. He pointed out that if he sent him immediately to jail it would not be for long and would not address his underlying issues and the the reasons for his offending.

Andrew McInnes, defending, said Rainford had no previous convictions and it had been two and a half years since the offence was committed.

He said the defendant was supported by his wife and two children, though they did not condone his behaviour

Mr Mclnnes said: “He knows he is fortunate to have that reaction.

“He found it very difficult to come to terms with exactly what he has done. There is still some reluctance to admitted his motivation but there is remorse."

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