Phillip Matthew Carberry was arrested at a coffee shop where he thought he was meeting a 13-year-old girl.
Phillip Matthew Carberry was arrested at a coffee shop where he thought he was meeting a 13-year-old girl.

Child groomer met by police instead of girl, 13

THERE were three fresh child grooming cases on police child protection boss Phil Hurst's desk when he got into work this morning.

The scary thing is that is nothing unusual as his team battles a constant wave of predators targeting Coast kids.

It comes as a child groomer, who thought he was meeting a 13-year-old girl at a Coast coffee shop when he was instead met by police, fronted court today.

The Maroochydore District Court heard that a police officer had been posing as the teenager who Phillip Matthew Carberry thought he was grooming over Facebook Messenger and text.

Between May 3 and June 1 last year, the 54-year-old Nambour man sent a photo of his erect penis and two videos of himself masturbating to "Ashley" who told him she was 13.

Crown prosecutor Will Slack told the court that Carberry had the intent to "procure her to engage in sexual conduct with him".

"This culminated in him arranging to meet her at Zarraffa's Coffee at Maroochydore where he was ultimately arrested by police," Mr Slack said.

Carberry appeared by video link to plead guilty to one count of grooming a child under 16 years with intent to expose to indecent matter and one count of using the internet to procure a child under 16 years and intentionally going to meet them.

Mr Slack said Carberry was a "cognitively impaired man" who could be easily manipulated.

Defence barrister James Feely said a psychologist's report indicated that Carberry didn't require imprisonment to be deterred from further similar offending.

"Mr Carberry was considered to lack propensity for sexual deviance and be at low risk of reoffending," Mr Feely said.

Carberry was sentenced to 18 months' imprisonment, suspended for two years.

He was also give two years' probation.

Meanwhile, Detective Senior Sergeant Hurst said his unit would investigate child grooming complaints and praised victims for coming forward to police.

"The biggest thing we can you do as parents is know who your kids are talking to online," Det Sen-Sgt Hurst said.

He said groomers would try to get children to send them images and would then use them to blackmail those children into further acts.

"The grooming goes along the line that offenders are looking for some kind of contact," he said.