Oxford scholar used Net to lure schoolboy

Jail sentence awaits another Net paedophile

An Oxford University scholar is awaiting sentencing after being found guilty of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old boy that he met in a gay Internet chatroom.

Dr Anthony Gray, 31, appeared before Cardiff Crown Court on Tuesday convicted of two counts of sexual assault. Sentencing has been adjourned for pre-sentence and psychiatric reports, but judge David Morris warned that the sentence will be one of lengthy imprisonment.

"We're still a long way from the sentence," said Justin Hugheston-Roberts, defence solicitor in the case. "The judge has taken the view that the case must be adjourned." No specific date has been set for the sentencing, but it is expected to take three to four weeks.

Before Gray was remanded in custody, the judge said: "You came to Cardiff with deceit in your heart and lust in your loins. You deliberately seduced a vulnerable boy. It was a pre-planned exercise." He ordered that Gray's name be placed on the sex offences register immediately.

The jury took just over two hours to find Gray guilty. They heard how the theology graduate chatted to the schoolboy on Gay.com more than 20 times after lying about his age. He then travelled to Cardiff where he persuaded the 14-year-old to spend the night with him in a double room at the Travelodge Hotel.

Gray denied any sexual activity had taken place, and claimed they spent the night talking about the boy's "confused" sexuality.

The defendant's computer was seized from his home in Bicester, Oxfordshire, after his arrest. Defence proceedings opened with evidence of 3,000 sexual images of young men that were found saved on his hard drive. "He's not being charged for the possession of this material as it's not an offence -- there's no suggestion that this material was paedophiliac," said Hugheston-Roberts.

Greg Bull, for the prosecution said: "Many miles away Gray was seemingly a pillar of the community. But he had a terrible secret. He has a fascination with young boys and was attracted to the teenage gay Internet line."

Britain has witnessed a flurry of Internet paedophile cases in recent months. Last week seven Britons were sentenced for their participation in the world's largest Internet child pornography ring dubbed the "Wonderland Club".

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