A paedophile sent a Facebook message to what he thought was a 13-year-old girl, telling her that ‘age is just a number’.

Kaitlin Luna, formerly known as Nathan Varley, also asked the ‘girl’ whether she was a virgin and offered to travel to where she lived in Newcastle and book a hotel room.

The now 22-year-old also sent ‘Layla’ an image of her naked genitalia, Oxford Crown Court heard.

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The ‘girl’ with whom Luna thought she was talking on Facebook Messenger was, in fact, an adult working with so-called paedophile hunter group The Child Online Safety Team.

Another member of the group called her up at the beginning of March 2019, after Luna had been speaking to ‘Layla’ for some time. Posing as a DPD delivery driver, the vigilante managed to get hold of the address to her supported living accommodation in Reading.

On March 3, 2019, members of the group travelled down to Reading and confronted Luna in the street outside her then home. The 38-minute encounter was live-streamed to the internet.

She was arrested, interviewed then later released.

The following year, she received a community order from a Portsmouth judge after being snared by another vigilante group. In 2021, she was given another community order for breaching a sexual harm prevention order imposed at the south coast court.

While subject to those orders, she repeatedly breached the sexual harm prevention order designed to limit her access to the internet.

They included using a pseudonym, ‘Jess’, to pose as a 15-year-old girl on social media site Hangout earlier this year. She had explicit conversations with people she said she believed were over-18 ‘for her own sexual gratification’.

Mitigating, Christopher Hewertson said his client was raised in the care system and was still in a children’s home in 2019 despite being 19, as there were difficulties finding an adult placement for her. She had a number of learning disabilities and an IQ of 59. She would struggle more than most in prison.

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Sentencing Luna to 21 months’ imprisonment suspended for two years with 60 hours of unpaid work, Judge Michael Gledhill QC said: “You should be thoroughly ashamed of your behaviour.  

“Whatever your difficulties you knew perfectly well that your chatting was disgusting and illegal.”

He added the delay in the 2019 case was ‘most unsatisfactory’. She should have been charged ‘within months’ of her arrest. “You weren’t, for reasons that are, to me, inexplicable.”

Luna, now of Isis Avenue, Bicester, pleaded guilty at earlier hearings to attempted sexual communication with a child and breaches of a sexual harm prevention order.

She remains a sex offender and subject to an indefinite sexual harm prevention order.

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This story was written by Tom Seaward. He joined the team in 2021 as Oxfordshire's court and crime reporter.  

To get in touch with him email: Tom.Seaward@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter: @t_seaward