Paedophile, 77, caught in undercover police operation plotted to abuse two girls

Paedophile Ian McNeill, 77, from Whittlesey, began messaging who he believed were a couple with similar views to him...

Paedophile Ian McNeill, 77, from Whittlesey, began messaging who he believed were a couple with similar views to him called Claire and Ryan. File photo. Credit: HyperionPixels/Getty Images/iStockphoto - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A 77-year-old paedophile from Whittlesey has been given a suspended prison sentence after he was caught in an undercover police operation.

Ian McNeill tried to persuade a “like-minded couple” to meet him so he could abuse their two young daughters.

He was caught out after the couple turned out to be undercover police officers.

McNeill began messaging who he believed were a couple with similar views to him called Claire and Ryan.

The online interaction between them began on June 20 last year and ended just over a month later, on July 31.


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In the chats he asked ‘Claire and Ryan’, who were in fact officers running an operation into child sexual exploitation (CSE), about their two young girls aged three and six.

McNeill told the couple he liked “any age that’s willing” and planned to meet them on August 6 last year for the purpose of sexually abusing their children.

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However, the week before the planned meet up, McNeill messaged to say he had fainted at the wheel and was unable to drive for a while.

He also stopped any further contact from this point, but police were able to identify McNeill as being responsible.

In police interview, he accepted he was the person in the chat but said it was all made up and fantasy.

He said he was just naively curious as to where the discussions about the children would lead to and added that he would never have actually travelled to meet them.

McNeill claimed this was why he made up the scenario of fainting at the wheel, as he needed a way to get out of it.

He was later summonsed to court for two counts of attempting to arrange or facilitate the commission of a child sex offence.

McNeill admitted the charges at Peterborough Crown Court on October 26.

He was sentenced at the same court on Tuesday where he was handed two years in prison, suspended for 18 months.

McNeill was also placed on the Sex Offenders’ Register for 10 years and made the subject of a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) for the same time period.

DC Gareth Purdy said: “McNeill’s behaviour was completely inappropriate and shocking. Using the internet in this way will not be tolerated and thankfully he was stopped and arrested as a result of an undercover operation.

“The SHPO will allow us to manage and monitor McNeill’s online behaviour over the next decade, thereby reducing the risk of harm to the public.

“Protecting young people from harm is one of our top priorities and we will continue to work tirelessly to keep our communities safe.”

Anyone who is concerned someone may have been convicted of a sex offence, and could be posing a risk to someone, can apply for disclosure information through Sarah’s Law.

For information and advice about child abuse, including sexual abuse, visit the force’s dedicated child protection web page.

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