South East Wales

Man, 92, 'tried to groom girls online'

Newport Crown Court

A 92-year-old man used the internet in an attempt to try to groom children for sex, a court has heard.

But the online profiles were fake and Ivor Gifford was arrested when he went to meet one of them.

Newport Crown Court heard that Mr Gifford, from Abertillery, Blaenau Gwent, had been set-up by a group called the 'Hunted One' which had been monitoring his online conversations.

He has denied three charges relating to sexual grooming of children.

The court was told that he now accepted that he sent the messages, but believed that he was communicating with an older woman between the ages of 17 and 20, who was pretending to be younger.

A jury was told that he communicated with two fake profiles placed online by the Hunted One group.

One of the accounts claimed to belong to an 11-year-old girl calling herself Jessie 875, and another for a girl called Jodie, who was said to be 12.

But prosecutor Owen Williams told the court: "The profiles are fake - the children do not exist."

He said that the profiles were put on the internet and lay dormant until someone tried to communicate with them.

When that happened, they were sent replies making reference to being under the age of 13.

The prosecution said Mr Gifford "controlled, and immediately directed the conversation towards a sexual nature".

He encouraged them to engage in sexual activity in what was described as a "persistent nature", the court was told.

Confrontation

Matters came to a head when Mr Gifford arranged for a fictional child to travel from Cardiff to Llanhilleth, near Abertillery.

The jury was told he planned to take her to his home to engage in sexual activity. He said he would pay for her transport and asked if she "wanted a sex lesson".

But he was confronted by three members of the Hunted One group, who then called the police.

The prosecution said Mr Gifford initially said to police "I hope I die before this gets out".

He denies of two charges of attempting to incite a child under the age of 13 to engage in sexual activity, and one charge of attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming.

The trial is continuing.