Weston man with 'lurid and disgusting desires' shared explicit messages with '12-year-old girl'

PUBLISHED: 07:00 10 May 2019 | UPDATED: 10:51 10 May 2019

Nicholas Roberts appeared for sentencing at Bristol Crown Court.

Nicholas Roberts appeared for sentencing at Bristol Crown Court.

Archant

A Weston man who sent a picture of his penis to what he thought was a 12-year-old girl on social media has been spared jail.

Nicholas Roberts, of Milton Road, has been ordered to 'return from the darkest corners of the internet' after he was caught.

The 24-year-old indulged his 'lurid and disgusting desires' by exchanging explicit messages with a 'girl' called Sophia on chat app Kik, only to learn he was communicating with a police officer operating a decoy account.

The defendant 'displayed a predatory attitude to the child', sending links to pornographic websites, suggesting to meet up and attempting to lure the child into performing sexual acts.

Roberts - who pleaded guilty to charges of attempting to incite a child in sexual activity and attempted sexual communications with a child - was given a 20-week sentence, suspended for two years at Bristol Crown Court on May 2. He was also given a Sexual Harm Prevention Order, which will keep tabs on his online activity for seven years - and he has been forced to sign the Sex Offenders Register for the same period

Judge Julian Lambert said Roberts 'displayed a predatory attitude to the child', adding: "You are of previous good character, but I have to deal with you for a shocking admission on your part. You must return from the darkest corners of the internet and refrain from your lurid and disgusting desires."

Last April, Roberts first interacted with Sophia using the name Jay Smith.

Hannah Squire, prosecuting, said: "On April 13, 2018, the conversation became more sexual in nature. Sophia suggested she wanted to access pornography websites. He sent her a link to some sites.

"He suggested meeting up but it went no further. He sent Sophia a photo of his erect penis and requested pictures of Sophia. She sent non-sexual pictures, but he wanted more."

Communication with Sophia ceased on April 25.

Nicholas Wragg, defending, said: "He addressed his offending behaviour before the police got involved. Something made him stop, and it was the wrongness of it that made him stop. You will see cases where people rarely stop and reflect, he did not like what he was doing.

"He expressed relief at the police station this was not a real child. He understands if this was a real person he would have caused harm. He has hit a real low point in his life and made some mistakes.

"The defendant is a bright individual and generally good young man. Given all the positive factors in his life, the risk of re-offending does not exist."

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