Man persuaded girl (15) to send “dirty” picture

Date: Friday 21st July 2017

A MAN used Facebook to persuade a 15-year-old girl to send him a picture of herself in her underwear and urge her to have sex with him, a judge sitting at Carlisle Crown Court heard on Thursday.

Allan John Smith (29), of Ridgemount Road, Harraby, Carlisle but formerly of Penrith, appeared for sentencing before Judge Peter Hughes, having pleaded guilty on an earlier occasion to three counts of causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, on 28th June and 4th and 18th July, 2015.

Mr. Tim Evans, prosecuting, told the court Smith initially contacted the girl, who lived in North Wales, in the middle of June, 2015, and she agreed to be his friend on Facebook. He sent her a stream of massages over the next week or so, asking, among other things, if she had a boyfriend.

On the advice of a friend, the girl then “blocked” his massages, but she did respond to one he sent a few days later, on 28th June, in which he made the false claim that his father had just died, with the aim of gaining her sympathy.

He subsequently cajoled her into apologising for blocking his messages, and asked her to send him a “dirty” picture of herself to “prove she loved him”. She did send him a photograph of herself wearing just her underwear, but with her face not visible.

She refused to send him any further photographs, but continued to exchange messages with him. In some of these he suggested they should have sex, and sent her photographs of his body.

The matter came to light on 18th July when the girl was on an overseas school trip and some of her friends realised she was in contact with an older man. They informed their teachers about this, and the matter was put into the hands of police in North Wales.

Mr. Evans said the girl had not suffered any serious psychological damage, but she felt cheated and that her trust had been abused.

In mitigation, Mr. Andrew Ford said Smith had learning difficulties and a complex psychological makeup, adding that he had not been in trouble since the time of the offences and was in steady employment at a takeaway restaurant.

Judge Hughes said the offences passed the threshold for a custodial sentence, but that the longest possible community order would be more constructive and offer the public more protection.

He ordered that Smith be subject to a three-year community supervision order, with a requirement that he take part in a sexual offender treatment program. He also imposed a five-year sexual harm prevention order; ordered Smith to pay coats of £750; and ordered the forfeiture and destruction of two mobile phones used in the commission of the offences.