A paedophile who travelled from Glasgow to Luton with a cuddly toy and condoms expecting to rape an eight-year-old girl has been jailed for 10 years.
Robert Burns, 48, believed he had been exchanging explicit messages with the child’s mother via a child abuse website based in Russia. But Luton crown court was told that he was caught in a police operation.
He had been involved in graphic on-line exchanges in which he said he liked girls aged 9 to 12 and thought that a youngster would be provided for him.
When Burns, who had been a chef, arrived by coach at Luton airport on Friday June 30 this year, having travelled 370 miles to meet the girl, he was arrested.
Prosecutor Martin Mulgrew said that when his belongings were searched officers found 48 condoms, a cuddly toy, a jewellery box, a money box, two dolls and a Valentine cracker containing dare dice to be used in a sex game. Children’s toys were also found in his Glasgow flat when that was searched.
Pictures of teenage girls were hanging on the wall. Mr Mulgrew said:
‘He said it was only a fantasy and said he saw no harm in being interested in children.’
Burns, of Wynford Road, Glasgow (G20), appeared for sentence from Bedford prison having earlier pleaded guilty to arranging the commission of a child sex offence.
Defending, Pamela Brain said he had pleaded guilty and had been honest with probation officers.
He stopped working as a chef because of a back injury and started a sci-fi memorabilia site. ‘At the time he was living an isolated life, spending a lot of time on his computer and was drinking a lot.
He was very depressed and became involved in this matter,’ she said. Judge Michael Kay QC jailed him for 5 and a half years with an extended licence period of 4 and a half years.
It means that when Burns is released from prison he will be monitored by probation officers until 2027 and will be liable to be recalled. The judge said he found it ‘astonishing’ that sites such as the Russian paedophile one were not blocked.
He described the online conversations Burns had as ‘shocking and perverted’.
Referring to a pre-sentence report, he told Burns: ‘You have no insight into the effect of what you planned would have psychologically let alone physically on a child of 8.
‘It was A wrong, B evil and C out of step with what any reasonable person would think.’
He must register as a sex offender for life and abide by the terms of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order.