An airline pilot from Brighton has been spared prison by a judge who sentenced him for trying to meet a child for sex after online grooming.
Gary Morris, 46, from Brighton, was given a 12-month prison sentence suspended for a year by Judge Edward Bindloss at Newcastle Crown Court.
The British Airways pilot was also ordered to undergo rehabilitation and register as a sex offender for 10 years.
Morris, who lives with his husband in Brighton, claimed to be 38 as he exchanged messages online while staying with his parents in Sunderland just after Christmas two years ago.
He thought that he was messaging a boy called Tom but claimed not to have realised that Tom had said that he was just 14.
It turned out that Tom was a fake profile set up by a group of “paedophile hunters” called the Guardian of the North.
When Morris answered his door expecting to meet Tom, he was arrested by the police who had been tipped off.
Good character references and the loss of his prestigious job helped persuade the judge not to jail Morris immediately.
British Airways, which suspended Morris after his arrest, said: “He no longer works for the airline and has not flown since his arrest in 2016.”
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