Woodford Green man jailed for trying to meet ‘13-year-old’ girl for sex

Snaresbrook Crown Court. Picture: John Stillwell/PA

Snaresbrook Crown Court. Picture: John Stillwell/PA - Credit: PA Archive/Press Association Ima

A school canteen worker wept in the dock as he was jailed for 16 months after he was caught trying to meet a 13-year old girl for sex.

Nicholas Baines, 41, of Tamar Square, Woodford Green, was arrested at Westfield shopping centre, Stratford, on May 19 after being snared by online group Internet Interceptors.

The former St John Fisher Catholic Primary School worker arrived hoping to meet “Gemma” who he had been in touch with over WhatsApp the previous two weeks.

“Gemma” was actually a 35-year-old police woman named Sarah Doherty acting in a personal capacity on behalf of the group.

Baines asked if she had a boyfriend, told her she would “look nice in a summer dress” and insisted she say he was her step-father when together in public to avoid getting him in “real s***”.

Among suggestions the two play a naked “kissing game”, he even asked: “You’re not the police or anything like that are you?”

Baines admitted a single count of attempting to meet a girl under 16 following sexual grooming last month.

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Prosecutor Jeffrey Israel told the court he confessed his plans once interviewed and explained that his wife had thrown him out and “wanted someone to talk to” – after initially denying he arranged the meeting.

Archangelo Power, defending, described how Baines “lost his reputation, lost his wife, he has lost everyone” and said that would be punishment enough.

Judge John Lafferty told Baines: “I reject the suggestion that this was the consequence of the break-up of your marriage.”

He continued: “In my judgement, I am afraid Mr Baines, I do not consider this to be just a single stupid act.”

Baines was jailed, made subject to a sexual harm prevention order and will be on the sex offenders’ register for 10 years.