Accrington teacher claims in court he knew 'under-16' he was meeting for sex was an adult

Lancashire Telegraph: David Simpson David Simpson

A TEACHER said to have been trying to meet who he thought he was a schoolgirl for sex told a jury he knew it was an adult, perhaps with a ‘fantasy’.

David Simpson, 49, who taught at Hollins Technology College in Accrington, for about 10 years, had worked as a supply teacher at Alder Grange Community Technology School, Rawtenstall, and Ribblesdale High School in Clitheroe, around the time he is alleged to have started sending obscene internet messages to what he is said to have believed was a 15-year-old, including calling her ‘my sexy little schoolgirl,’ in February.

But, Burnley Crown Court has heard, he had not been communicating with a child at all, but a woman in her 20s. Lisa Chard had acted as a decoy to help a man named Stinson Hunter set up a fictitious profile in the name of Lisa Rogers on free adult dating site Plenty of Fish.

Mr Hunter was out to trap what he would describe as a ‘paedophile, and Simpson was later said to have been caught in a sting when he turned up in Birmingham on February 26, allegedly to meet the ‘schoolgirl’ for hotel sex.

Simpson, from Oak Street, Accrington, denies attempting to meet a female under 16 intending to commit a relevant offence, between February 22 and 27.

Giving evidence, Simpson, said he had been on Plenty of Fish about a year, had sent lots of messages, met four people and had had sex.

Simpson said he sent a message to Lisa Rogers because of her profile picture.

His barrister Mr Philip Holden asked: “Looking at that photo, what did you understand about the person?” He replied: “She was an adult, mid twenties.”

The defendant told the jury: “On her profile, it said 18.”

Mr Holden said: “It is suggested it said: ‘Contact me for my real age.’ Do you recall that?” Simpson said: “No. I messaged her something along the lines of: ‘Are you into older guys?’”

Simpson told the court that on Plenty of Fish, Lisa Rogers said: “I have got something to tell you. I am only 15 years old.”

He said he went straight back to her profile pictures. Mr Holden asked: “What did you deduce?” The defendant answered: “No way. She was adult. My first thoughts were that she was lying.” Then he added: I wanted to find out more. I was curious.”

The defendant accepted he had sent ‘obscene’ messages, but said Lisa Rogers never sent any sexually explicit messages back.

Asked why he sent them, he said: “I got the impression that that was what she wanted.” Mr Holden asked: “Did you at any stage believe she was 15?”

Simpson answered: “Never. Not at any stage. I thought it was perhaps her fantasy. Younger woman, older guy.”

Asked by Mr Holden if he made any inquires to reaffirm his thoughts she was an adult, Simpson said he made a £17, 192.com inquiry, using a postcode from the hotel booking, and got information he ‘thought had to be’ Lisa Rogers in Nuneaton, with an age guide of 30 to 34.

He said he also phoned Nuneaton police station and asked if there was an officer called Lisa Rogers, waited for ages and then put the phone down.

The defendant said Lisa Rogers had said it would be entrapment.

He continued: “This is not the kind of language a child would use.

“I just thought the whole thing was strange.”

Proceeding

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