NHS worker from Weston admits using dating app to groom underage girls

PUBLISHED: 06:58 10 June 2019 | UPDATED: 13:25 10 June 2019

David Cardwell.

David Cardwell.

Archant

A St John Ambulance volunteer from Weston-super-Mare used a dating app to encourage underage girls to have sex with him.

Cardwell was caught by online paedophile hunters.Cardwell was caught by online paedophile hunters.

David Cardwell, aged 52, from Sunnyside Road, struck up a relationship with what he thought were three girls aged 12-14 using the Oasis dating app.

The girls were actually women from a paedophile hunting group posing as young girls.

Bristol Crown Court was told on June 6 Cardwell used a profile picture of himself in his St John Ambulance uniform to gain their trust.

In conversations with the girls, he said: "I would love to see a photo of you.

"I love your young body, I'd love to see it.

"I wish you were here."

Cardwell, a NHS agency worker, pleaded guilty to three charges of attempting sexual communication with a child as well as possessing prohibited images of children.

Kenneth Bell, prosecuting, said it was clear Cardwell's intention was to have sexual intercourse with all three.

He said all three 'girls' told Cardwell their age early on in their communications to ensure there was no question of entrapment.

Judge Mark Horton said: "It's not an accident in this case that what he puts in his profile is him wearing full uniform to give himself a profile as a medic to show 'this is the reliable medic you can trust'.

"He's discussing teaching them to have sex.

"He's discussing actually meeting them and suggesting lies they can tell to their mother to allow that to take place.

"There's nothing about their conversation that is sexualised, it comes from him."

The judge said parents and children needed to be aware of the dangers of online chat groups and messenger services such as Kik and WhatsApp where messages can be deleted.

He said: "All you have to do with some websites is tick you are over 18, that is all that's required."

Fifteen prohibited images were found on his mobile phone which included cartoons showing children as young as four being abused.

Cardwell also admitted possessing more than 1,214 prohibited images of children.

Judge Horton adjourned the case until June 28 to determine the exact categorisation of the pornographic images found in his possession.

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