"Beautiful girl! Show me more please honey. You are a cheeky, naughty girl."
A group of paedophile vigilantes have caught a University lecturer sending explicit messages to an ‘underage girl’.
While police arrested him and he appeared before trial on 12th February 2018, he was spared jail.
Sunil Shastri, aged 62 years old, believed he was in contact with a 13-year-old girl. But he was actually speaking to a member of the group.
Known as ‘Guardians of the North’, the vigilantes had posted a name and number, belonging to the ‘girl’, online.
The lecturer, from the University of Hull, soon contacted the ‘youngster’ via WhatsApp and began sending a series of sexual messages.
He would request intimate images, such as the ‘girl’ in her underwear and private parts of her body. One of his messages read:
“Beautiful girl! Show me more please honey. You are a cheeky, naughty girl xxx.”
Sunil would also talk about sexual acts, saying he wanted to give the ‘child’ a “cuddle and kiss”. He also expressed an interest to meet up: “I would (meet you) but it’s dangerous. You are 13 and I’ll go to jail.”
This took place for a period of two weeks. However, Guardians of the North passed on his details to police, who soon arrested him.
During his trial in York Crown Court, Defence Barrister Taryn Turner said: “He has had a most distinguished academic career.
“His fall from grace has been spectacular. He had a stellar career within the world of universities and, ironically, has done much to support many young people over the course of his professional career.”
Sunil pleaded guilty to attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child. As a result, Recorder John Thackery gave him a four-month sentence but suspended this for two years.
He believed the 62-year-old posed “low risk” to the public and deemed him a “hard-working family man” who had shown regret.
However, the lecturer will undergo 10 days of rehabilitation and will follow a sex offenders’ treatment programme. In addition, he will sign the sex offenders’ register for 7 years.
Reports also add that he has resigned from his position as a senior lecturer at University of Hull’s Biological and Environmental Science Department. He had held this role since 1994. The university released a statement saying:
“This individual is no longer a member of staff at the University and therefore it would be inappropriate to comment.”
The court also heard how the 62-year-old is receiving counselling and suffers from poor health. Reports also add he volunteered as a speaker and mentor at events for child sex abuse charities.
In recent months, cases have emerged of paedophile hunters catching individuals who prey on ‘children’. Back in October 2017, an Indian man received a jail sentence after vigilantes catch him attempting to meet a ‘girl’ for underage sex.
With the verdict given, Sunil will now begin his rehabilitation and treatment programme.