May 11, 2021 4.04 pm This story is over 30 months old

Man accused of sexting ’14-year-old boy’ on Grindr

An undercover police officer was posing as the boy

A 45-year-old man sent sex messages to an undercover police officer posing as a 14 year old on the dating app Grindr, a jury was told on Tuesday.

James Shawley is alleged to have sent messages to the “boy” giving details of sex acts he wanted to perform on him and and then planned to meet up with him.

Julia King, prosecuting, told the jury at Lincoln Crown Court that Shawley, who at the time was living in Bourne, initially contacted the undercover officer, referred to in court as Jay, who had set up a profile using the display name “fun fun fun”.

Miss King said: “The charges faced by this defendant all arise out of written conversations he had online on two different media. One was a dating application, Grindr, and the other was over WhatsApp.

“This defendant contacted by way of Grindr somebody who ultimately identified himself by the name Jay.

“Jay was in fact an undercover police officer posing as a 14-year-old boy. He used the display name ‘fun fun fun’. He didn’t initiate contact with other users and waited for people to contact him.

“The defendant’s opening line was ‘Hello. Up for discreet fun’.”

Miss King said Shawley asked if Jay was looking for a boyfriend and Jay replied that he probably would when he left school.

“Five minutes into this first conversation the defendant asked ‘how old are you?’

“Jay replied he was 14. The defendant replied with the word ‘Jesus’.”

Miss King told the jury that during conversations that followed on both Grindr and WhatsApp, Shawley went on to detail his own sexual preferences and asked for a picture of Jay in swimming trunks.

“The defendant continued to make specific references to the sexual activity he wished to engage in with Jay.”

Shawley is alleged to have then arranged to meet the 14-year-old at the cinema in Huntingdon on the morning of December 27, 2019 intending to have sex with him.

Police identified Shawley as responsible for the messages and he was arrested at his home in Bourne four days before the planned meeting.

Miss King said: “The prosecution case is that the defendant had been caught attempting to engage in sexual activity with a child. He made a plan to meet what he thought was a child.

“It wasn’t actually a child but it was an undercover police officer. He didn’t know he was dealing with an adult. He thought he was dealing at all times with a child.”

When Shawley was interviewed by police he admitted sending the messages, but said his intention was to protect Jay from other users on Grindr and he wanted to shock and repulse Jay into leaving the site.

Miss King told the jury: “He said he intended to stand him up and not attend the meeting. He claimed he was acting in the interests of the 14-year-old boy and wanted to shield him from harm posed by others.”

James Shawley, 45, formerly of Hereward Street, Bourne, and now living in Sheffield, denies two charges of attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual actrivity together with further charges of attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child and attempting to arrange or facilitate the commission of a child sex offence by arranging to meet someone he believed to be a 14-year-old in Huntingdon with the intention of having sex with the child.

The charges relate to the period between December 8 and 23, 2019.

The trial continues.