Social media sting run by Dublin dad leads to capture of Canadian sex offender

Sex predator caught thousands of kilometres away as father informs local cops

Canadian Mounted Police. Stock image© Getty Images/iStockphoto

Alan SherrySunday World

A Dublin father’s concern about paedophiles using social media to target children led to cops successfully arresting an online predator in a sting in Canada.

The dad was listening to the radio in Ireland in 2018 when he heard how predators were targeting kids on a social media app call Kik which allowed the sharing of messages, photos and videos.

After hearing the programme he and his wife set up a Kik account using the name Kaitlin and setting the date of birth to 14.

He told Canadian news group Saltwire Network this week that they joined a chat group for Dublin football teams but didn’t post anything. Within an hour there were a couple of requests for private chats, including one from a man in Newfoundland who turned out to be a predator.

“His name on the app was Gary Lockyer. I assumed it was a fake name,” the Dublin father told Saltwire. “Never thought somebody would be trying to groom a girl with his real name.”

However, it turned out that was the case.​

Over a few weeks “Kaitlin” exchanged message with Lockyer talking about animals, Taylor Swift and gymnastics while Lockyer asked her age and hobbies and told her where he worked.

Lockyer then asked for photographs. At this point the Dublin father called a detective garda.

“He said there could be an investigation and I could be messing with it and could get in trouble,” the dad told SaltWire.

“Then I spoke to someone (at a Garda station). He was like, ‘Jesus, stay away from this. Don’t do this,’ and he told me the law and that they couldn’t do anything here.

​ “I think I put it to bed for a while and then I opened up the app and there were more messages from him.

“ I think I came up with some story that my phone camera had broken and I was getting a new one or something to that end. Over the next few days I told him I was trying to get a handle on some savings to be able to come to Canada.”

The father used the information Lockyer gave him and discovered he lived in Clarenville in Newfoundland and Labrador.

At this point the father contacted Clarenville Royal Canadian Mounted Police who passed the case to the RCMP/Royal Newfoundland Constabulary’s joint Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) Unit.

The Canadian cops told the Dublin dad to stop interacting with the Lockyer account and at that point an investigator posing as a 15-year-old girl from St John’s in Newfoundland sent a message to Lockyer saying: “Hey, I’m Kaitlin’s friend... She asked me to tell you. I hope it’s ok I messaged you.”

Lockyer sent sick messages to the officer posing as a child, including explicit photos and talk about meeting up at a toilet in a shopping centre in St John’s for sexual activity. Lockyer turned up at the shopping centre and was arrested.

He was jailed for one year and placed on the sex offender register for a year.

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