Would-be paedophile admits attempting to meet nonexistent schoolgirl for sex

Wigan and Leigh Magistrates Court

A would-be paedophile has admitted travelling to the borough in an attempt to meet a nonexistent schoolgirl for sex.

Grant Percival was caught at Leigh bus station when self-styled “paedophile hunters” tricked him into meeting them, having posed as a 15-year-old girl on a messaging app.

The 34-year-old, originally from Carlisle, had sent vile messages to the fictional girl called Amy, telling her that they could perform sexual acts in public, and had even booked a hotel room for them to return to.

Percival, who gave his care of address as the Egerton Arms Hotel in Salford, was arrested by police and appeared at Wigan and Leigh Magistrates’ Court yesterday. He pleaded guilty to inciting an under aged girl.

The court heard how Percival had first contacted the decoy, who was actually an adult male from Leigh, earlier in the day on Sunday February 2.

Initially messaging in a friendly manner, the pervert’s texts soon turned sexual, telling Amy: “You look nice in your dress.”

He then sent messages detailing how the pair could “do something sexual” on the top deck of a bus while en route to the hotel.

Prosecutor Katie Beattie told justices that although the pair were talking on an app which required users to be over 18, it was iterated several times that Amy was only 15 years old.

Percival then hastily arranged to meet Amy later that day at the bus station, but was met by a team of paedophile hunters, who confronted him over his conduct.

During the heated encounter, the decoy told him: “I was Amy, that was me,” before stating that he had told the man about the girl’s age several times.

After reading some of the messages out to him, Percival fully admitted his intentions.

In a surprise turn, he even called the police himself at the scene

He chose to answer “No comment” to all questions under police interview.

He was remanded in custody and will be sentenced at Bolton Crown Court on March 5.

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