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Paedo hunters nail Dundee dad who drove 400 miles with knife and Viagra to meet girl

Christopher Marshall
Christopher Marshall was caught by paedophile hunters in Derbyshire.

A Dundee father drove for six hours to meet a 12-year-old girl he had been grooming online – only to come face-to-face with a gang of paedophile hunters.

Christopher Marshall travelled 400 miles to the East Midlands with Viagra-like pills, a knife and a balaclava.

When he was caught, the 60-year-old tried to play the hero, claiming he had come to Chesterfield to rescue the girl and take her to the police or social services.

The youngster, called Leah, was an invention of Facebook group Demon Hunters.

The organisation uses decoy accounts to snare and expose paedophiles throughout Britain.

A group spokesman told The Courier it was one of their most gruelling operations.

Christopher Marshall
Christopher Marshall

Marshall appeared at Nottingham Crown Court and admitted attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming.

He further pled guilty to attempting to engage a child in sexual communication and possession of a bladed item.

The first-time offender was jailed for three-and-a-half years.


Judge Michael Auty QC told Marshall: “There is a real and genuine concern to protect children from those who seek sexual intercourse with them.

“There is a world of difference between those who fantasise online and those who go through with it.”

The Crown Court Recorder added: “It is where people stop and you didn’t.

“It is clear to me from the items you had with you in the car there was an intention to carry out a penetrative sexual offence with this girl if the opportunity arose.

“That she was a decoy and not a real child is mitigation.”

Knife and pills were ‘worrying’

Speaking after the court hearing, a spokesman for Demon Hunters said: “Three-and-a-half years was a good result but if I’m being honest I would have liked something a bit harsher.

“This was one of our most gruelling operations.

“For him to travel so far to meet a child was bad enough but the items that he was found with made this even more worrying.”

He added: “We were chatting to him for several months.

“He was a pretty slow groomer.

“He took his time with his chats and it was a while before he actually arranged to meet our decoy.”

Two decoys

Prosecutor Jon Fountain said Marshall had originally contacted another decoy, a 12-year-old called Tia in September last year, the Derby Telegraph reported.

Marshall sent her an online friend request and the two began exchanging messages.

Mr Fountain said the decoy told Marshall she was unhappy at home.

Caught on camera

He suggested she move in with him in Scotland, bringing her birth certificate with her.

“Mr Marshall then made friends with one of her Facebook friends called Leah, who was also a decoy,” Mr Fountain told the court.

“He sent her photographs of his penis and asked her if she would like to play with it.”

Mr Fountain said: “He asked her about her genitalia and this continued for about 10 days.

“She said she had run away from home and so he said he would come from Dundee to Derbyshire to meet her.

“But when he arrived in Chesterfield he was met by the hunter group.

“They called the police who arrested him, searched his car and found four Viagra-style tablets, a balaclava and a knife.”

Mr Fountain said it was later confirmed the balaclava had been issued by Marshall’s workplace.

Accused ‘lost his way’

Barrister Fergus Malone, defending, asked the court to consider a non-custodial sentence.

“He lost his way,” Mr Malone said. “His mother died and his partner, the mother of his two children, also died in 2018.

“This has been his first time in prison and he is on a vulnerable person’s wing.”

Marshall was placed on the Sex Offenders Register for life and was also handed a permanent sexual harm prevention order.