COURT: Pocklington prison officer due for sentencing on child sex offence charges

Graeme Brass. By: Hull News and Pictures
Graeme Brass. By: Hull News and Pictures

A married prison officer from Pocklington was caught by an internet vigilante trying to coax a 13-year-old girl to spend the night with him in a Travelodge Hotel.

Ex-Royal Marine Graeme Brass, 57, posed with a profile picture of a middle-aged woman in an evening gown on a dating site in an effort to incite schoolgirls into sex.

He made explicit sex chat thinking he was talking to a young girl wanting a date.

However, he was caught out by an Irish-based vigilante gang who trapped him into revealing his sick desires - only to report them to the police.

The trusted prison officer’s world fell apart, after police followed up on the tip and raided his Pocklington home. He has since lost his wife and prison job of 28 years.

Brass formerly of Orchard Gardens, Pocklington, appeared at Hull Crown Court for sentence (May 26) after he pleaded guilty to five charges of attempting to commit child sex offences with schoolgirls between April 6-9th 2016.

Crown barrister John Thackray said: “He posed as middle-aged female on the internet in a chat room liaising with what he thought was a 14 or 15-year-old girl. He thought he was liaising about sexual activity with that girl and her friend a 13-year old girl.”

Mr Thackray said the fictional victim, who called herself Zoe, was actually an internet vigilante from Ireland.

He said Brass was posing as a middle-aged woman to gain the trust of the girl and groom her. He said Brass offering to introduce himself to a 13-year-old girl. Brass was recorded typing: “I know this sexy guy. He is in his mid 50s. Do you think she would mind a man of that age? “When the girl replied: “ No.” Brass responded: “We could fib a bit. He will do it, but no one has to know. It could happen in a Travelodge. One night of sex.”

Mr Thackray said: “It is clear he is referring to himself. He was saying: “As we live 200 miles away we would have to get organized.”

Mr Thackray said the chat was explicit and included him talking in an encrypted chat room – for which he had to provide the girl with a coded password. The police raided his home with a search warrant and seized material. Initially he protested it was fantasy.

Defence barrister Paul Genney said Mr Brass had been humiliated by his own actions and was full of remorse. Mr Genney said: “He has lost his home, his wife and his job. He has been in the prison service for 28 years and has children and grandchildren.

“For someone of his background to engage in this, is something of a conundrum. He had 10 years in the Marines and served in the Falklands as a reconnaissance commander. He has served in some very difficult situations and wonders if it is stress, after all these years.”

Mr Genney said he has now left his home to live in Stockton and is talking about finding work as a driver or in a hotel because his job prospects were now limited. Mr Genney said: “One can only imagine what it will be like for a man like this, in prison, having admitted these pathetic offences.”

Judge Mark Bury said: “How far along the road –he was going to realizing the fantasy is an odd area. I am finding this case a very difficult sentencing exercise. It very unusual to have man from your back ground committing what were serious offences. I have to balance the serious nature of the offences against the fact no –one was harmed. It is not in your interests, or the public interest, for me to rush to judgment. Do not think by adjourning this case you are not going to prison. I have not made up my mind. I want to look at other cases.”

Judge Bury adjourned for sentencing at Grimsby Crown Court on June 9.

Brass was allowed to walk free on bail.