A paedophile taxi driver said a ‘girl’ could get a McDonalds if she carried out sex acts. According to the Liverpool Echo, the 60-year-old made vile comments about the acts he wanted to perform on the ‘12-year-old’ who was actually a woman from a paedophile hunter group. Sarah Griffin, prosecuting at Liverpool Crown Court on March 25, explained that the messages took place between February and May in 2019 through an online forum. While speaking to what he thought was a 12-year-old girl called ‘Lucy Lou’, he claimed he was 28 and ‘instigated a conversation of a sexual nature’, stating that he knew girls who get “mackies and credit for fones” in exchange for sex acts. Griffin explained Hughes asked if she wanted a picture of him after which he sent a picture of his face and asked her to do the same. The court heard there were 88 pages worth of screenshots in which Hughes had messaged what he thought was a schoolgirl.

Another member of the paedophile hunter group created an account as an

Quentin Neal, defending, asked the judge to consider that Hughes had pleaded guilty at the first opportunity, had shown remorse and that he has no previous convictions. The court heard he “was a taxi driver for 15 years” but has now lost his job and doesn’t have contact with family members.

adult female in an effort to get contact information but Hughes didn’t respond to a message to meet up, after which a third member got in touch. They pretended to be from an ‘online safety group’ and asked Hughes to meet them outside Birkenhead Police Station, which he did and after which he was arrested. Ms Griffin said: “The daughter of the defendant’s ex partner attended the police station on August 8, 2019, and handed over a number of electronic devices.” On a Dell hard drive officers found 61 indecent images of children, 54 of which were unique while others were duplicates.


A taxi driver is to stand trial later this year charged with mowing down and murdering an amateur footballer. STV News reports that Derek McClinton is accused of killing Craig Kearney in East Kilbride on March 5, 2017. Prosecu- tors claim McClinton hit the 24 year-old with his car, knocked him to the ground before driving over his head and body. It is alleged the 49-year-old then failed to get medical help and left Craig lying injured on the road in the dark. Craig – who had played for AFC Bonny- holm in Glasgow’s Pollok – later died. McClinton, also of East Kilbride, faces a separate charge of then attempting to


pervert the course of justice. The includes a claim he did “continue in the course of (his) employment as a PHC driver” in the car afterwards. This is said to have allowed “video footage” taken by a device in the vehicle to be erased. The charge also states McClin- ton did wash the car in “an attempt to destroy evidence”. McClinton – represented at the time by QC Donald Findlay – originally pleaded not guilty at a hearing at the High Court in Glasgow in February 2020. A planned trial for October last year was postponed due to the pandemic and is now to be held in July.

Mr Neal said: “He lost his home and since these offences was on the streets for a short period of time.” He told the court he suffers from mental health dif- ficulties and added that there is a “prospect of rehabilitation. I would ask your honour to hold back from an immediate custodial sentence.” Hughes, from Birkenhead, admitted possessing 61 indecent images of chil- dren, making the images and attempting to engage in sexual com- munication with a child. Judge Gary Woodhall, sentencing, said: “You are of previous good character and have described yourself as ‘dis- gusted’ and ‘ashamed’ for what you have done. The judge said in this case there can be “no harm” in accordance with guidelines because “your victim was a fictional decoy”. Judge Woodhall reduced Hughes’ sentence by a third for his prompt guilty plea and took into account the current conditions in prisons as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Suspending the sentence the judge said: “There is here a realistic prospect of rehabilitation” and concluded the public is “best protected by the imposi- tion of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order” as well as work with the proba- tion service. Hughes was given a ten-month sentence suspended for two years and was ordered to complete 40 Rehabili- tation Activity Requirements and 150 hours of unpaid work. He was ordered to sign the Sex Offenders Register for ten years and comply with a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for seven years.

APRIL 2021

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