Words: Steve Brown
A British Airways pilot who was arrested after trying to meet with a teenage boy on Grindr says it was “just a fantasy”.
Gary Morris, 46, used the hook-up app to chat to the 14-year-old boy called ‘Tom’ back in December 2016 and they allegedly chatted for a while before the pilot invited the teenager to his parents’ house.
However, ‘Tom’ was actually Guardians of the North – a group that sets up fake online profiles to expose adults preying on minors – and they tipped off the police who subsequently arrested him.
A spokesperson for the airline confirmed that Morris had been let go from his position.
This week, the 46-year-old married man appeared at Newcastle Crown Court where he denied grooming a minor for sex and said he felt “foolish, embarrassed and ashamed” and confessed he had “betrayed his partner”, according to the Sunderland Echo.
During the court case, Morris revealed he had been using the dating app for six years but often deleted it because he didn’t want his husband to find out.
He went on to claim that he used the site for “sexual gratification” but it was only “pure fantasy” and never had any intention to meet anybody.
Morris confessed he must have “missed” the message where the minor told him he was only 14 and said he was distracted by other online activity.
Prosecutor Michael Bunch said: “He wasn’t after a fantasy. He was after actual sexual contact with Tom.”
However, his attorney said he isn’t “a paedophile” and has “no interest in children” and would never risk his “career, relationship and reputation”.
Morris was found guilty by the jury and was ordered to register as a sex offender and a sentence is scheduled for next month.