Coleford man jailed for attempting to groom 'girls'

Thursday 14th July 2022 4:00 pm
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Gloucester Crown Court.
Gloucester Crown Court. (Philafrenzy CC BY-SA 4.0 )

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A FORMER Coleford man tried to groom underage girls as a way of coping with bereavement, a court was told.

But Judge Ian Lawrie QC responded by saying: “Whatever his emotional torture was as part of the grieving process, it’s hard to explain the quantum leap for him to viewing images of naked children.”

Andrew Hotine, 55, Hotine pleaded guilty that between July 1 and July 9, 2019 to attempt to cause a child to engage in sexual activity; two counts of attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child; two counts of attempting to cause a child to engage in a sexual act and make indecent images of a child.

Hotine, who now lives in Brockworth, also admitted attempted to engage in sexual communication with a child on October 6, 2020; and attempting to meet with a girl under 16 after grooming on October 18, 2020.

Hotine was given a jail term three years and three months and he was placed on the sex offenders’ register for 10 years. He was also subject to a sexual harm prevention order limiting his use of the internet.

At Gloucester Crown Court on Friday (July 8) Charles Thomas, prosecuting, said that Andrew Hotine of Burroughs Close, Brockworth, commited two sets of sex offences during 2019.

The first involved his interaction with three sets of ‘decoys’ - one an undercover police officer and the others civilian paedophile hunters posing as children online.

He made contact with an undercover police officer who was posing as a child on July 2, 2019 on a social media account.

“As soon as Hotine contacted the decoy ‘AJ’ he was told that ‘she’ was 12 years old,” said the prosecutor. “He used his real name in their conversation. Hotine immediately asked for a photograph of the girl and she declined, saying it was because she didn’t know him.

“The conversation turned into a sexual discussion and Hotine sent her a picture of his own naked body.

An examination of his digital devices, following his arrest on July, also found he had been in touch with a “13-year-old” girl who was actually a private citizen from Worcester.

In October 2020, before the previous charges were in the court system, he was in contact with a “14-year-old” who was actually a paedophile hunting group.

Matthew Harbinson, defending, said Hotine was not before the court for sexual activity with a child or inciting sexual activity with a child.

“It’s an attempt,” he said. “But it’s not even that because there was not even a child involved on any of the three occasions.

“I fully admit that this was Hotine’s intention to engage in conversation with these girls, but on these three occasions these ‘children’ were adult decoys posing as children – an undercover police officers, a concerned member of the public and a paedophile hunter.

“Hotine moved to Gloucestershire 10 years ago with his partner, but when this relationship broke down he remained in the Coleford area of the Forest of Dean.

“Hotine then struck up a relationship with his new partner, but when she was taken ill, he stopped working to care for her until she died in June 2019.

“In the following 12 days he committed the on-line offences as he sought to find some comfort on social media.”

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