A WIGAN man has been convicted of a string of sex offences involving two young girls.
A jury unanimously found 58-year-old Paul Wallace guilty of 15 charges but cleared him of raping one of the girls when she was aged 12.
Businessman Wallace, of Whitehall Avenue, Appley Bridge, was further remanded in custody to await sentence later today.
It was alleged he had sex with two underage girls he met after grooming them via the internet.
Wallace was found to have video clips of the partly-clad girls, aged 13 and 14, on his mobile phone along with dozens of text messages with them.
He told one of them that he was a wealthy 30-year-old and drove an Aston Martin but turned out to be balding and bespectacled and turned up in a white van with an inflatable mattress in the back.
His sordid activities came to light after he began communicating via an internet chat room with an undercover police officer who was posing as a teenage girl and Wallace attempted to engage in sexual activity using a webcam, said Mark Ainsworth, prosecuting.
Wallace was convicted of two offences of meeting a child following sexual grooming, six of sexual activity with one girl when she was aged 13 and 14 and three of making indecent photographs of her.
He was also found guilty of two charges of taking indecent photographs of the other girl, one of possessing four photographs and one video clip of her and attempting to engage in sexual activity in the presence of a child.
Wallace claimed he believed the girls were aged 16. He denied having sex with the younger girl though admitted doing so with the other girl.
The girls were tracked down after his mobile phone and computers were seized following his on-line conversations with the under-cover police officer. One lived in Cannock in Staffordshire before moving to Manchester and the other girl lived in Luton.
He told the girl from Cannock, now aged 15, that he drove an Aston Martin. “He plainly gained her trust which culminated in meeting her for the purpose of sexual abuse,” claimed Mr Ainsworth.
He travelled to Cannock to meet her and picked her up from school and they had sex in his van on an inflatable mattress before he dropped her off outside her home.
Over the 18 months that followed she would see him several times each month, although sometimes just to talk and other times they had sex in various locations. He sometimes used his mobile phone to record what was going on, said Mr Ainsworth.
Mark Ainsworth, prosecuting, told the jury that text messages between Wallace and the girl from Cannock clearly indicated that he knew she was under 16 including him texting, ‘as soon as you are 16 I am getting you a flat here.’
Mr Ainsworth said that the other girl was 12 when Wallace met her after grooming her and he picked her up from school, while she was in her school uniform. Video clips of her were also found by police on his phone, though not as many and not as explicit as the other girl.