Romford 'Paedophile Squad' jailed for Grindr blackmail
PUBLISHED: 16:10 16 July 2015 | UPDATED: 09:09 17 July 2015
Two brothers who dubbed themselves "The Paedophile Squad" have been jailed for trying to extort £1,000 from a convicted child sex offender they snared through Grindr.
Ryan Jones, 27, and Elliot Jones, 24, both of Ascension Road, Romford, targeted a man in his 50s on the dating app.
They convinced him to meet up with a 14-year-old boy in Collier Row in April last year. When he turned up, they announced they were “The Paedophile Squad” and demanded £1,000.
After taking him to a bank, the man flagged down a police car and all three were arrested.
A jury at the Old Bailey convicted the brothers of blackmail today and sentenced them both to two-and-a-half years in jail.
After the verdict, it was revealed Elliot Jones was himself convicted last month of trying to incite a child into sexual activity in October 2013.
Judge Charles Wide said the prosecution hadn’t been told about the conviction until the trial had begun – too late for it to be used as evidence.
He ordered an investigation into the handling of the case, having also been told one of the brothers allegedly asked the man to drop the charges – information police failed to follow up on.
Sentencing them, he said: “You deliberately targeted someone pretty much at random using Grindr, who you knew would be vulnerable.”
The judge attacked Elliot Jones for an “utterly bogus” defence, having hidden from the jury he had been convicted of a child sex offence himself.
It also emerged Elliot Jones served a three and a half year sentence for a racist attack on a mosque in Ilford in 2011.
The man in his 50s admitted attempting to groom a 14-year-old over the incident and will be sentenced at Snaresbrook Crown Court later this month.