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UK News

Ex-church minister jailed after targeting children on Grindr

by Press Association

A former church minister who "preyed on children" using gay dating app Grindr has been jailed for four years.

Hugh Graham, 60, talked to at least two youngsters and downloaded thousands of indecent images from the dark web before he was snared by a police officer posing as a 13-year-old boy.

In one message, he said: "I'm hoping you aren't a gang of blokes trying to trap me. I could get into trouble for chatting to you lol."

He was arrested in December 2019 at his home in Camden, north London, where police found two laptops, a mobile phone, memory cards and a USB stick containing more than 35,000 illegal images of children as young as three.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said Graham, a former United Reformed Church minister, was jailed for four years at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Thursday.

He had previously pleaded guilty to a string of child sex offences between May 2018 and December 2019.

CPS senior Crown prosecutor Paul Addison said: "Hugh Graham was a trusted and respected member of the community who thought he could hide his criminality behind a screen.

"He preyed on children for his own sexual gratification and used Grindr and the dark web to feed his addiction.

"Graham knew what he was doing was wrong and he will now have to accept the consequences of his actions.

"The CPS will continue to work with the police and other partners to prosecute those who fuel the sexual exploitation of children."

Graham admitted attempting to arrange the commission of a child sex offence, attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity, possessing an extreme pornographic image, possession of prohibited images of children, three counts of making indecent photos of children and three counts of attempted sexual communication with a child.

He was also handed a sexual harm prevention order and placed on the sex offenders register.

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