Soldier guilty of grooming and molesting 14-year-old boy he met on Grindr

Soldier guilty of grooming and molesting 14-year-old boy he met on Grindr

Elliott Houston-Birch wanted to become a police officer

Monday, January 22, 2018

A soldier has been found guilty of grooming a schoolboy for sex and molesting him, ruining his chances of progressing in his career.

Elliott Houston-Birch was also found to be in possession of indecent images of children, according to the Darlington and Stockton Times

The 28-year-old was working at Dishforth Airfield as part of the Royal Logistics Corps in 2016.

It was then that the man started talking to a 14-year-old boy on dating app Grindr and later went with him to a car park in Northallerton, where the pair engaged in sexual activity.

Earlier on that same day the child had been discovered by police and had been drinking, so officers had taken him home, Teesside Crown Court heard.

Houston-Birch had also been sharing his collection of indecent images with a colleague which he is said to have compiled over several years. The person he confided in eventually came forward when they had enough evidence to back up their claim against Houston-Birch.

Houston-Birch had hoped to become a police officer in future and previously commanded immense respect. A past appraisal said "he is a fine role model, an excellent ambassador and a pleasure to command.”

The man pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual activity with a child as well as 20 different counts in relation to indecent images of children.

He has been jailed for four years and will be listed on the sex offenders' register for life.