David/Ava Jones

David/Ava Jones, a male who identifies as a transgender woman, was convicted at Bolton Crown Court in May 2022 of abducting a child, following months of grooming via the internet.

Jones, 28, was sentenced to two years and two months in prison while accomplice Trevor Carr received a two year sentence. Both had been permitted to plead guilty to abduction after the police apparently took their word for it that the offence was not sexually motivated.

Jones had started corresponding with the 12-year-old (female) child about anime and gender identity issues. On discovering the conversations, the child’s grandmother had warned that it was grooming and threatened legal action.

This did not deter Jones and Carr though, and the child – in their school uniform – was abducted outside Wigan station and driven 120 miles to north Wales with a blanket over their head. Reportedly, police rang during the drive and Jones put a hand over the screaming child’s mouth before giving their name as David Jones to the officer, and lying about being in Ireland. They were eventually tracked down to a campsite where Jones was found staying in a tent with the child.

In their victim impact statement, the child told the court: ‘My anxiety has got a lot worse. I’ve lost a lot of friends’. The child also said that they ‘cry for hours on end’ when they think about the incident and has since self-harmed.

The judge told the defendants ‘This is a deeply troubling case in which you both behaved in a bizarre and unsettling way. Adolescence is an uncertain time for many, often filled with insecurity and concerns about identity and you, Ava Jones, preyed upon the insecurities of your victim.

This is not the first case of predatory men targeting and grooming vulnerable gender-questioning children for abuse:

  • In February 2022, paedophile Jacob Smith, 39, targeted a Grindr profile of a 14 year old girl who identifies as a boy
  • In 2018, paedophile Basil Stonham, 87, sexually assaulted a young female relative shortly after they began identifying as a boy
  • In 2017, paedophiles Andrew Davies and Colin Pearce groomed and sexually assaulted a young girl who identifies as a boy
  • In 2016, paedophile Robert Flanagan, 31, used Craigslist to groom and then meet and sexually abuse a 14 year old boy with Aspergers who identifies as a girl

Image via Daily Mirror

Media reports

Liverpool Echo https://www.liverpoolecho.co.uk/news/uk-world-news/child-abducted-outside-train-station-24000237 archive

Daily Mail https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10832621/Pair-jailed-two-years-abducting-Manchester-child.html

Daily Mirror https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/child-12-blanket-thrown-over-27004124