“I was trapped by a Facebook paedophile”


A convicted paedophile calling himself Lone Ranger targeted a horse-mad 15-year-old on Facebook so he could carry out a string of sex attacks.

Vile stable-owner Paul Watson, 44, preyed on trusting Jessica Hunt using the social networking site as he helped her tend beloved Shetland pony Alfie in February 2009.

Cunning Watson bombarded the youngster with 2000 flattering messages but hid his real identity to everyone except Jessica by using the name of the TV cowboy hero.

After weeks of grooming he pounced, forcing her to have sex in the back of his 4×4 before again using Facebook to trick her into keeping silent with twisted lies.

The sick pervert, also threatened to hit the teen if she told anyone and even flirted with her mother Maxine, 42, as he repaired her car, so she did not suspect him.

The monster was only arrested following five months of increasingly awful abuse, when distraught Jessica confessed all to her best friend’s mother – a social worker.

It later emerged he had been convicted for molesting another 15 year-old in 2005 but had kept his past secret by registering the stables in his unsuspecting partners name.

Jessica, now 16, broke her silence and waved her anonymity to warn other teenagers and young people of the dangers of social networking sites.

Her warning came after Watson was jailed for four years and just a week after Facebook killer Peter Chapman was jailed for the rape and murder of 17-year-old Ashleigh Hall.

Jessica said she had been manipulated into the abusive relationship after meeting Watson and his innocent partner at their Nottingham stable in October 2008.

She said: ”I didn’t feel I could tell anyone what was happening and at first I felt excited that someone was taking an interest and saying nice things to me.

”But now I realise it was all just lies so he could do what he wanted to me. When He started to abuse me I felt alone and scared.

”There should be easier way to report when someone is intimidating you and I’d hate what happened to me to happened to somebody else. That’s why I’m speaking out.

As the youngster tended the pony in the stables every day after school disgusting Watson made her a Facebook ”friend”.

Using a profile picture of a horse and his Lone Ranger alias, he was able to hide his real identity from Jessica’s mother Maxine and gain the young girl’s trust.

As Jessica vented her feelings on the website, Watson presented himself as a ”kindred spirit” and started messaging telling her, ”You look really cute”.

Jessica added: ”At first Paul was friendly and a laugh. Sometimes I would catch him looking at me which made me feel uncomfortable, but I just shrugged it off.

”Then he started sending really nice, sympathetic messages saying that if I ever needed to talk to anyone he was there. I started to believe he really cared about me.”

A few weeks later he pressured her into full sex when she was still 15 after he took her for a drive and pulled into a lay by – before threatening to hit her if she told anyone.

Jessica said: ”I’d no idea where I was and didn’t feel I could escape. I kept saying ‘I can’t do this!’ as he moved closer to me, but he was really persistent.

”I didn’t know any way to get out of it. He threatened to hit me if I didn’t give in”

For five months the youngster found herself under pressure to carry out indecent sexual acts until Watson was arrested after she cracked and told her friend’s mother.

Jessica’s distraught mother Maxine said she was devastated to have found out her daughter had been abused under her nose while using Facebook.

She said: ”I should have properly investigated but I was naïve. Jessica accused me of being nosey, and when she said the ‘Lone Ranger’ character was just Paul I let it rest.

”If there was any kind of greater control available, such as a panic button for someone to press when they were suspicious of a user’s activity, what he was doing could have come to light much quicker.”

Home Secretary Alan Johnson said the terrible case highlighted how the young needed more protection on social networking websites.

He said: ”We met Facebook to ask them to sign up to the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre’s ‘report abuse’ button which help young people report danger.

”Hundreds of websites have already signed up and we hope Facebook agrees soon.”

A Facebook Spokesman said: ”Nothing is more important to us than the safety of the people who use the site.

”We have a variety of measures they can use to protect themselves from unwanted contact and we strongly encourage their use.”



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