July 2013

Swindon man posed as girl to make child strip


A man who made and distributed child abuse images has been jailed for two years and eight months

A 45-year-old man who went online pretending to be a teenage girl got a 15-year-old to strip for him with the offer of modelling work.

Stephen Phillip Barnett of Derwent Drive, Upper Stratton, hoodwinked the child into exposing herself to him over her webcam.

When she refused to keep doing it, he threatened to send a tape of it to her Facebook friends.

But the girl told her mother and police tracked the fake account to Barnett.

His computer was found to have hundreds of indecent pictures and movies of children, some of which he had shared with others.

Officers also found chat room logs with paedophiles where he was asking for images of boys being raped.

Now Barnett, who lived with his elderly mother and held down a responsible job, has been jailed for two years and eight months.

Tessa Hingston, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court in summer 2011 the girl received a Facebook friend request from an older teen called Linda Braid.

She purported to be 18 or 19, and said she could help the 15-year-old be a model.

She also recommended the child contact another girl, Debbie Hughes, who would also help, but that account was also being run by Barnett.

Miss Hingston said using the fictitious names he managed to persuade the youngster to show herself in states of undress.

“She started to balk and was told if she didn’t do it a video of her webcam session would be shared on Facebook,” she said.

When Barnett was arrested he admitted he had used a series of pseudonyms online forsix years and pretended to be a woman to persuade young girls to expose themselves to him.

Barnett admitted causing a child to engage in sexual activity, 12 counts of making indecent images of children, four of distribution, one of possession and four of having extreme pornography.

Rob Ross, defending, said: “He has worked in a senior capacity at a well known company for a number of years. His employers are prepared to keep him.”

But jailing him Judge Douglas Field said: “This offending is so serious that public interest requires me to pass an immediate custodial sentence.”

As well as jailing him he said he must register as a sex offender for life and be subject to a sexual offences prevention order restricting his liberty, for five years.