Net abductor's sentencing delayed

Internet paedophiles are increasingly using chatrooms to lure children into offline meetings

A British judge has adjourned sentencing on Monday for a Net paedophile who kidnapped a 12-year-old girl that he met in an Internet chatroom.

Winchester Crown Court heard on Monday morning how Richard Wait, 32, abducted a 12-year-old girl for five-and-a-half hours after meeting her initially on TeenChat. He emailed the girl for a week before picking her up in his van on 6 November last year.

Judge Patrick Hooton agreed to adjourn sentencing until a later date in May, following a recommendation from the prosecution to wait until a linked case has been settled at a magistrates' court. Defence solicitor Sean Perry from law firm Foster Wells has confirmed this issue relates to a separate case, but was unable to reveal any further details.

Wait will be sentenced on one count of child abduction under the Child Abduction Act, after pleading guilty to the charge last month.

The victim, whose name cannot be revealed for legal reasons, met Wait at a railway station in Liss, Hampshire. Wait picked her up in his van and drove her around for five-and-a-half hours, before dropping her off in Liss unharmed but scared.

British courts have been inundated in recent months with cases of paedophiles abusing Internet chatrooms for "grooming" children into offline meetings, or trading child pornography over the Web. Last week, an Oxford scholar was sentenced to five years for raping a 14-year-old boy that he met in a gay chatroom.

Last month, Net paedophile Patrick Green who used a Yahoo! chatroom to "groom" a 13-year-old girl into meeting him for sex, had his five-year sentence halved. He will be eligible for parole after 15 months, halfway through his new sentence. As he has been in custody since his arrest in June, Green is expected to be released in five months time.

What are the risks of paedophiles approaching children through Yahoo! Messenger chatrooms? Find out the details of ZDNet News' investigation in the Chatroom Danger Special Report

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