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Heckmondwike man snared by paedophile hunters is branded 'dangerous sexual predator' by Leeds judge

James Phillips received an extended 14 year jail term when he appeared at Leeds Crown Court.
James Phillips received an extended 14 year jail term when he appeared at Leeds Crown Court.

A man ensnared by so-called paedophile hunters was given an extended jail term of 14 years as a judge branded him a “dangerous sexual predator”.

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James Phillips was already on licence for sexual offences involving an underage girl and subject to a sexual offences prevention order when he set up a fake profile on Facebook.

Using the alias of Anthony Moss, he then arranged to meet 14-year-old ‘Becky’ on February 2 this year with the intention of taking her virginity.

When the 28-year-old went to meet her at Sainsbury’s in Dewsbury, he was instead confronted by members of the Predator Exposure group.

Leeds Crown Court today heard how Phillips had tried to run away but was detained by members of the group until police arrived.

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Prosecutor Christopher Dunn said Phillips had been jailed for two years in July 2014 when he was convicted of inciting a girl aged under 16 to engage in sexual activity.

He received a further 15 month jail term in May 2017 when he breached the terms of his sexual offences prevention order by sending indecent images to an underage girl.

Chris Aspinall, mitigating, said Phillips had pleaded guilty, admitted his offences to police from the start and fully accepted his intention was to have sex with ‘Becky’.

He said this level of acceptance marked a change in behaviour and might be a sign of “light at the end of the tunnel”.

Phillips, of The Crofts, Heckmondwike, admitted attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity, attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming, attempting to have penetrative sex with a child and breaching a sexual offences prevention order.

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Recorder Paul Greaney QC said: “I have no doubt at all that there is a significant risk to members of the public.

"You are a dangerous sexual predator. You have, it is quite plain, a complete inability to control your sexual impulses to have sex with girls.”

Phillips was jailed for six years, with an extended term of eight years due to the high risk of harm he presents, bringing the total sentence to 14 years.

The sentence includes 18 months in prison to be served concurrently for breaching the sexual offences order, which he will remain subject to indefinitely.