GETTY / PH
A British man who travelled to the US to have sex with young boys has been jailed
Paul Charles Wilkins, 70, was caught after he made arrangements with undercover agents to have sex with a nine-year-old boy in California.
The pensioner from Littleport, Cambridgeshire, had attempted to meet two other boys aged 10 and 12, but he was arrested in February last year when his plan collapsed.
Prosecutors said Wilkins ran an online group used by paedophiles and "persistently engaged in the sexual exploitation of children" before he went to the US in January 2016.
He was initially charged with travelling with the intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct and attempted sex trafficking of children, transporting child pornography and possession of child pornography.
Under a plea bargain he admitted he had travelled to the US with the intention of having sex with two young brothers.
He sought out another young boy when the plan fell apart and arranged to pay the youngster £200 ($250) at a flat he had rented in the Coachella Valley.
Paul Charles Wilkins was caught after he made arrangements with undercover agents
Given his age, this prison term virtually assures the defendant will not be a sexual threat to young people again
In reality the meeting was a sting by the Immigration and Customs Enforcement's Homeland Security Investigations (HSI).
Under the deal with prosecutors he pleaded guilty to one charge of transporting child pornography from the UK to the US, including graphic sexual images of boys between the ages of five and eight.
Wilkins was sentenced to 13 years in federal prison and a £20,000 ($25,000) fine at a court in Los Angeles on Wednesday.
A judge ordered that he stays under supervision for the rest of his life.
United States Attorney Eileen Decker said Wilkins had "persistently engaged in the sexual exploitation of children".
She said: "He was the administrator of an online group used by men to discuss their sexual interest in children, he travelled to the United States to have sex with two young boys, and he made arrangements with undercover agents to have sex with another young boy.
"Today's sentence ensures that children will be protected from his abhorrent conduct for many years."
Joseph Macias, the special agent in charge for HSI Los Angeles, said: "Given his age, this prison term virtually assures the defendant will not be a sexual threat to young people again.
"This sentence should also serve as a sobering reminder to paedophiles who wrongly believe they can outrun the law and indulge their perverse desires by buying an airline ticket and boarding a plane.
"HSI will continue to work closely with its law enforcement partners in the US and around the world to hold these dangerous sexual predators accountable for their actions."