Rugby player Joe Snowdon, 24, who thought he was meeting schoolgirl, 13, for sex is instead confronted by online paedophile hunters Dark Justice

A rugby player was caught by vigilante paedophile hunters after he turned up a hotel expecting to meet a 13-year-old stranger he had talked to about sex.
Joe Snowdon thought he had been talking to a schoolgirl called Amanda, who he met on adult social networking Skout, before moving on to private chats over Whatsapp.


But the 24-year-old rugby player was duped by Dark Justice, a group that sets up profiles to snare men who want sex with children.
Newcastle Crown Court heard that police had been alerted when Snowdon pulled up in the car park at the West Parade Hotel in Newcastle to meet the youngster and he was arrested by officers at the scene.

Snowdon has been suspended from his rugby club, where he played for ‘countless years’ and lost out on two job opportunities when potential employers heard.
Snowdon, of Swalwell, Gateshead, said his online conversations were ‘all fantasy’ but later admitted attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity.
He has no previous convictions.

Prosecutor Rachel Masters told the court the online conversations all took place in one day, on December 3 last year between Snowdon and a fake profile on Skout, that had been set up by members of Dark Justice.

 

Snowdon began speaking with a person he thought was a girl called Amanda, aged 13, but she was created as a fake account by the Dark Justice group

Snowdon began speaking with a person he thought was a girl called Amanda, aged 13, but she was created as a fake account by the Dark Justice group

 

Miss Masters said the chat was initially ‘friendly’, even after it was revealed that ‘Amanda’ was 13, not over 18 as it stated on her profile.

The court heard mobile telephone numbers were exchanged so that the conversation could continue on Whatsapp, where Snowdon told ‘Amanda’ ‘you’re cute’.

Miss Masters added: ‘At his point, the defendant’s conversation started to turn to a sexual nature.

‘He said “would you like to kiss me” and the messages got more explicit, such as “I want to take your V” and making suggestions of meeting up.’


The court heard within hours a meeting was arranged and Snowdon was arrested when he turned up to it.

The messages moved to Whatsapp after they started on an adult social network

Snowdon’s messages began to get more explicit, even though he had been told the girl he was speaking to was just 13-years-old

Before he set off, Snowdon had sent a message saying he was nervous and that he was ‘taking a big risk to meet up’.


Judge Sarah Mallett told him: ‘You knew in your heart of hearts you ought to have stopped it even then, but you didn’t.

‘You were arrested at the meeting place.’

The judge said she accepted Snowdon was ‘appalled and disgusted’ by his own behaviour and that he is susceptible to intervention which would be in the interests of himself and the public in future.

Snowdon has been suspended from his rugby club and lost out on potential jobs after employers learned of his offence


Snowdon has been suspended from his rugby club and lost out on potential jobs after employers learned of his offence

Judge Mallett sentenced Snowdon to a community order for three years and said he must sign the sex offenders register for seven years.

Jamie Adams, defending, said the case has had a ‘salutary’ effect on Snowdon and added: ‘There is no way he is going to be bringing this kind of experience into his life, or someone else’s life again.

‘He has learned his lesson.

‘He has been suspended from the rugby club where he has been for countless years.

‘He has also lost two prospective jobs.

‘He is a good person.’