A DANGEROUS sex offender has been sent to a mental hospital after the mother of his intended victim turned detective to track him down.
Reginald Reed, 34, used a computer at the supported adult care accommodation where he lived in Bideford to contact a 14-year-old girl.
He started sending her scores of obscene and sexualised messages but his attempts to groom her were interrupted when the teenager’s mother spotted the traffic on her daughter’s computer.
The mother took over the correspondence and used it to find out enough details to put police on the track of Reed.
He tried deleting his phone and computer memories but eventually admitted sending the messages.
Reed has been sent for treatment, including specialist sex offender therapy, under an interim Mental Health Act order and a judge at Exeter Crown Court will decide later whether he should be held there indefinitely.
Reed, of Grange Road, Bideford, admitted attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity and was sent to the St Andrews Hospital at Northampton, where a sex offender’s treatment programme is available.
Judge Phillip Wassall made the hospital order after reading three reports from psychiatrists which showed Reed has learning difficulties, dissocial disorder, and a schizophrenic illness.
He told Reed he posed a high risk of committing sexual offences involving children.
Sean Brunton, for the prosecution, said many of the hundreds of texts and emails he sent the girl were of a sexualised and graphic nature.
He said: “It went on for a considerable period of time before the mother notified the police who were able to trace Reed.”
Mr Brunton said Reed wiped the memories of his devices and when interviewed he blamed his behaviour on his mental condition.
He said all he wanted to do was to have fun and have a girlfriend but his condition meant he was not responsible for his behaviour.
Nigel Wraith, for the defence, said all the psychiatrists who had seen Reed concluded that he was suffering from a number of mental conditions which could be improved by treatment.
He said none suggested a restriction order which would put his release date in the hands of a tribunal but the unit where he is to be treated had been chosen because it is considered secure.