Dating app Grindr is a “meat market” where users’ “opening gambit” is to send a picture of their penis, a paedophile’s lawyer has claimed.
A defence barrister made the forthright comments about the LGBTQ+ platform while mitigating for Hussein Abukar, from Small Heath, who tried to contact what he thought was a 15-year-old boy on the app for sex.
In reality the 26-year-old was communicating with an undercover police officer with a fake profile. He was arrested just a few hours later.
Abukar, of Wyndcliff Road, was jailed for 30 months at Birmingham Crown Court on Thursday, September 9 after admitting arranging the commission of a child sex offence.
During the hearing his defence counsel Joshua Purser said: “Some call it a dating app. It is better described as a sex app or meet-up app. It’s a meat market in which people are sending goods that are for sale.
“There’s none of the airs and graces of romance and buying dinner first. It is very much par for the course that the opening gambit is a picture of one’s penis.”
Abukar was snared by Operation Atari, a police crackdown to capture predators targeting children online.
Glyn Samuel, prosecuting, said a fake profile had been set up on Grindr clearing stating the user was a 15-year-old boy.
He added: “Grindr is a platform for the LGBTQ+ community. You are meant to be 18 to use it but it is well-known many users are underage. All you have to do is provide a date of birth, there doesn’t have to be proof.”
On March 31 this year Abukar made contact with the profile claiming he was 25, the court heard. At first he said ‘hi’ and referred to himself as ‘Jamal’ before sending a number of pictures, one of which was of a penis.
Abukar told the ‘boy’: “Don’t be shy I’m not here to judge I don’t care if you are younger”.
When the undercover officer emphasised he was ’15’ the defendant replied that he ‘liked young Twinks’ – a slang term which typically refers to homosexual young males.
Abukar demanded a picture in return to prove he was not “being cat-fished or pranked”, said the prosecutor.
He then arranged for the apparent schoolboy to come to his address but when he had a knock on the door at around 3.40pm that day, it was the police.
Officers seized his mobile phone and also noticed an open pack of condoms on his bedside table.
Mr Purser said Abukar had not had a ‘trouble-free’ life, having grown up in care. He stressed he was not attracted to children and was ‘exploring his own sexuality’ at the time of the offence.
The barrister added: “He is an industrious and intelligent man who was working as a hard floor fitter. He has served the equivalent of a ten-month sentence (on remand). If the indignity of all of this hasn’t taught him a lesson that spell in custody certainly will have.”
On top of his sentence Abukar was placed on the sex offenders register indefinitely and made the subject of a ten-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO).
Grindr has been approached for a comment.
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