December 2008

Deputy mayor jailed for grooming

A former deputy mayor and councillor of Harrogate has been sentenced to eight months in prison for attempting to groom a 13-year-old girl for sex.

Morris Lightfoot, of Dryden Close, Bilton, Harrogate, was caught in a sting operation by an administrator on a social networking site.

The Lib Dem councillor represented Bilton on Harrogate Borough Council and Bilton and Nidd Gorge on North Yorkshire County Council.

The 55-year-old admitted three charges of asking the girl for sex, and was placed on the sex offenders register.

The judge at York Crown Court also banned him from working with children.

In an earlier hearing before city magistrates, the court heard that Lightfoot – who logged on under the name Moozzaa – had asked the girl if she wanted to lose her virginity to him even though she repeatedly made it clear she was only 13.

He had suggested a meeting with the girl in Harrogate and also sent her pictures of himself in a state of undress, though none was deemed indecent.

The “girl”, who was in fact an administrator of the website, then alerted police.