Lee Haughton’s vile sexual fantasies were laid bare at his sentencing hearing at Sheffield Crown Court on February 11, during which Judge David Dixon described his behaviour as ‘abhorrent’ and ‘depraved’.
In an opening note submitted to the court, prosecution barrister Andrew Bailey described how Haughton, of Wood Street, South Hiendley, met an undercover police officer purporting to be a single mother in an online chatroom in June last year.
Mr Bailey said that despite Haughton immediately revealing he was ‘into role-playing; age-play and diapers’; he was ‘initially cautious’ and asked the officer, who was using a pseudonym to prove she was real and not from the police.
As the conversation progressed, Haughton told her he had ‘always been turned on by incest’, the court was told.
The officer told Haughton she shared his interests, adding her two daughters, neither of whom are real.
Despite his concerns about being caught by the police, Haughton expressed his desire to abuse her baby, which he described as ‘the ultimate’ and something that had not previously been ‘accessible to him’.
Mr Bailey said the pair agreed to meet in person at a café in Sheffield, and upon arrival, Haughton told the officer he had got there early because he was ‘eager’ and had also wanted to check the area for ‘police officers or similar’.
During the meeting, Haughton, who is reported to have worked as a manager at a food company in the Wakefield district, formulated a plan for abusing the woman's children, and said he ‘really likes nappies’ and had ‘always been into watersports’.
Haughton then told her he had previously stolen dirty nappies from a supermarket bin, and described how he would smell the nappies and pleasure himself.
He was caught and arrested by police three days later, as he travelled to a location he believed to be the woman's house, carrying a bag containing sex toys.
Mr Bailey said the undercover officer’s conduct was part of Operation Resolve, a police initiative aimed at ‘making the internet safer for children’.
Haughton was targeted after 19 indecent images of children were found on his mobile phones and computers, following a raid of his property in November 2020.
Forensic examination of Haughton’s devices also showed he had downloaded around 20 videos from a website called ‘Incestflix,’ depicting men and women ‘role-playing various incestuous sexual fantasies’.
Despite initially claiming in police interview that his behaviour was part of an elaborate plan to entrap the woman and give the authorities her address, he eventually accepted his wrongdoing and pleaded guilty to charges of: conspiring to engage/facilitate in the commission of a child sex offence; making indecent photographs/pseudo photographs of a child and possessing prohibitied images of a child at an earlier hearing.
Judge Dixon described Haughton as a ‘dangerous offender’ and handed him an extended sentence of 14 years, six years of which must be served in prison.
He said he was in ‘no doubt’ Haughton would have completed the crimes against the baby.
Haughton was also put on the sex offenders’ register for life and made the subject of a life-long sexual harm prevention order.
Judge Dixon commended the undercover officer for her role in exposing Haughton’s criminality, stating that her conduct was ‘exemplorary’ and deserved recognition because she had ‘to live the role, which was too horrible to contemplate’.
Speaking after the hearing, A/Detective Sergeant Dave Devey, from the force's Crime Services department, said: "Haughton is a depraved sex offender who appeared to be obsessed with the idea of abusing young children for his sexual pleasure. I am pleased he is now behind bars where he belongs.
"This significant sentence should also serve as a warning to other sick individuals who think they can hide in the shadows online. We are determined to make the internet a safer place for children in our communities - and we are proactively pursuing online offenders like Haughton every single day. We will find you, and you will face the consequences of your sickening actions."
DCI Andy Howard, from the Yorkshire and Humber Regional Organised Crime Unit, added: "I am pleased with the significant prison sentence handed by the court to such a dangerous offender.
"We will continue to identify and pursue those that use the internet to prey on the vulnerable within the communities of the Yorkshire and Humber Region and across the country."