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LABOUR Councillor Who Groomed 14-Year-Old Boy on Tinder Given NO Prison Sentence – Here’s Why…



A LABOUR politician who ran to be an MP in Lancashire before being arrested while attempting to meet a person he believed was a 14-year-old boy he’d groomed online, has shockingly dodged a prison sentence. 

Former Labour Councillor John Robert Reynolds, 43, who was a sitting Councillor at the time of the offence, suffered what a judge said was a ‘spectacular fall from grace’.

Reynolds, who made an unsuccessful bid to become the Labour parliamentary candidate in the 2019 General Election, and who also served as a Carnforth town councillor before resigning in disgrace, pleaded guilty at Carlisle Crown Court last month to attempting to communicate sexually with a child.

An alternative charge, that he tried to arrange the commission of a child sex offence, was bizarrely abandoned by the prosecution. If this charge had not been abandoned, Reynolds would undoubtedly have been sent to prison.

Brendan Burke, prosecuting at Carlisle Crown Court, said that Reynolds came to Carlisle on July 27th last year and was staying at the Halston Hotel in Warwick Road for reasons related to his then employment.


At the time, he had activated a Grindr profile for himself, through which he initiated contact with somebody who clearly identified himself as a 14-year-old boy. Reynolds’ response to the age was to state simply: “That’s young.”

Reynolds, a former Labour Councillor, attempted to have sexual relations with someone he’d groomed online thinking them to be a child – in reality, he was talking to an undercover officer.

Deciding to groom what he believed to be a child, Reynolds then sent an intimate picture of himself early in the conversation.

However, Reynolds was unwittingly communicating with an undercover police officer.

“The conversation had quickly become sexualised,” said Mr Burke. “The defendant said he was looking for fun with a guy.

“He went on to ask [the boy] to send pics; that request was made and remade again throughout their conversation.”

The undercover officer told Reynolds he liked boys but had not actually done anything. The Labour councillor then asked the ‘boy’ what sexual activities he wanted to try before arranging to meet in Carlisle city centre.


In subsequent messages, when the ‘boy’ asked Reynolds what he wanted to do, Reynolds replied: “Whatever you want; we’ll see what happens.” Reynolds also asked the ‘boy’ if he wanted to go to the hotel where he was staying.

They agreed to meet outside the Hallmark Hotel near Carlisle railway station, where police were waiting to arrest Reynolds at 8.40pm.

During the sting, whilst being cuffed Reynolds said he believed the person he was communicating with was actually 18, given that this was the minimum age for anybody using Grindr. However, this is a typical response frequently seen deployed by groomers when caught in similar sting operations.

Jacob Dyer, defending, said there was no actual child involved but Reynolds accepted he should not have engaged in such communication. “This offence followed the breakdown of his marriage,” said the barrister.

“It was a period of upheaval for him, a very emotional time. He had left his job, he was struggling to cope, struggling to sleep. He was using alcohol and sleeping tablets in order to cope and he also started using dating apps.


“He wasn’t in a good place emotionally.”

Reynolds’ lawyer said that “Being arrested and spending six days remanded in custody had a profound impact on Reynolds, who as a consequence had a breakdown and spent four weeks in hospital. But he had now stopped drinking and was taking antidepressant medication.

Judge Guy Mathieson told Reynolds: “You have no previous convictions, and a good work history. What a spectacular fall from grace to have you stood before this court today.”

The judge accepted that Reynolds was suffering a significant emotional crisis and stated his belief that a combination of factors led to his offending. “But I reject entirely that you ever misunderstood the nature of these conversations with this person,” said the judge.

“You could not have missed the fact that this person was telling you that they were under age.


“There’s absolutely no doubt that you went out to meet what you thought would be an under age boy outside Carlisle railway station.”

The judge described that behaviour as ‘horrendous’, yet imposed a 12 months jail term, suspended for two years, ordering that Reynolds must complete an accredited treatment programme.

Reynolds, of St Winifred’s Park, Halton, Lancashire, will be on the Sex Offender Register for a decade and subject to a five year sexual harm prevention order. He must also complete 20 rehabilitation activity days.


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