A Haverhill man tried to persuade what he believed to be a 14-year-old girl to send him indecent pictures of herself over the internet, a court has heard.
Despite Steven Mason, 24, pleading guilty the judge, who today (Monday) sentenced him at Ipswich Crown Court said there was no way of knowing who he had been in contact with. Judge John Devaux said: “This is an unusual case. The object of your attention has not been traced.
“Indeed it is not known whether the correspondent was what he or she purported
to be. We will never know.”
The court heard that in September last year police examined a computer belonging
to Mason, of Wortham Place, Haverhill and discovered evidence that he had been
in contact with what he believed to be a 14-year-old girl.
Robert Sadd, prosecuting, said Mason had been involved in a series of exchanges and had attempted to persuade what he believed to be the girl, who lives outside the UK, to send him indecent images of herself.
“The risk he took and was prepared to take was that it was a 14-year-old girl,” said Mr Sadd.
Mason had pleaded guilty to an offence of attempting to incite sexual activity with a child.
Defending, Jacob Edwards said Mason had committed no further offences since his arrest last September.
Mr Edwards told the court: “It is an unusual situation where there has been no face to face contact and the crown cannot say whether it was an offence against a 14-year-old or not.”
Sentencing him, Judge Devaux told Mason: “What you did was to incite an individual believing her to be 14 to touch herself indecently and provide pictures.”
Mason, who has no similar previous convictions, was made the subject of a three
year community order on condition he remains under Probation Service supervision
and participates in 160 sessions with the Thames Valley Sex Offender Group Programme.
Judge Devaux ordered that Mason’s computer be forfeited and destroyed, told him he must sign on the Sexual Offences Register for five years, banned him from working with children and said Mason must pay £350 towards the costs of the prosecution.