May 2012

Former Coventry man posed as youngster online to lure 13-year-old girl

A 44-YEAR-OLD man posed online as a teenager and persuaded a 13-year-old girl to perform sexual acts, a court heard.

Steven Hull, formerly of Stoke, in Coventry, pretended to be an 18-year-old boy on Facebook, My Space and MSN.

He persuaded his victim, aged 13 at the time, to undress and perform a sexual act while chatting on MSN messenger at her grandparents’ house in 2009.

At Coventry Crown Court on Friday, Hull, now of Presteigne, Powys, Wales, was given a community order and ordered to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work after pleading guilty to causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

Jonathan Barker, prosecuting, said: “The defendant set up an MSN chat profile claiming to be a young man. On Facebook it showed a false picture and false ID.

“The victim believed he was a boy – she thought he was 18 years old. He was nice to her and she was flattered that an older boy was interested in her.

“They became friends on Facebook – she could see his false picture, not in fact knowing he was an older man.

“He went too far when she was on holiday at her grandparents’ house and spoke to him using a laptop. He persuaded her to unbutton her shirt and take her top off. When she told him she had a boyfriend he still persisted.

“He told her he was videoing the footage and threatened to show the footage unless she undressed completely.”

Richard Murray, defending, said: “It’s a case primarily to focus on rehabilitation to make sure he doesn’t do it again.”

Judge Richard Griffith-Jones, sentencing, described Hull as a “revolting creepy man.”

“The victim was a child and I mean a child, not some woman you have taken advantage of in a revolting and creepy way. It was a child in the early stages of growing sexual maturity. You behaved despicably.

“Members of the public will rightly be concerned to understand why a non-custodial sentence should be passed.

“You are of previous good character, you pleaded guilty, you didn’t in fact touch her physically and there was never any prospect of you doing so.

“This is not a case where you were intending to groom her. This case does highlight the dangers on the internet and people, particularly children have to be really careful about the sort of people they are corresponding with.

“This girl would have learned all too bitterly and I hope young people and their parents reinforce those dangers.”

Hull will also pay costs of £600 and be placed on the registered sex offenders’ list for five years.