May 2015

Pervert used Facebook to groom young boys

A SEXUAL groomer lied about his age on Facebook in a bid to meet up with two underage boys, Bradford Crown Court heard.

Scott Lowndes swapped indecent photos with a 13-year-old child and asked a 14-year-old to be his boyfriend.

Lowndes, 20, of Crosley Wood Road, Bingley, pleaded guilty to causing or inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and two offences of attempting to arrange to meet a child following sexual grooming.

He had been held in custody since committing the offences in August last year.

Prosecutor Katherine Robinson today told the court that Lowndes pretended to be 16 on Facebook and his profile featured a photo of a person who looked that age.

He sent indecent photos to the 13-year-old, who sent three similar images of himself back.

Lowndes suggested meeting up but the boy told his mother and she said no.

He told the 14-year-old he was 17 and suggested seeing him in a hotel, the court was told.

Miss Robinson said Lowndes had a prolific criminal record for dissimilar, low level offending.

In mitigation, Lowndes’ barrister, Stephen Wood, said his client was a vulnerable and troubled young man.

He had never made any definite plan to meet up with either boy.

“It is almost as if the arrangements were some sort of fantasy that would never come to fruition,” Mr Wood said.

Lowndes pleaded guilty at the first opportunity and was very frank with the police.

“On a level of maturity, he is about the same as the victims,” Mr Wood said.

Lowndes had a very impressive report from his probation officer and had battled psychological problems and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

His sister, who was in court to support him, was willing to let him live with her.

Judge Jonathan Durham Hall QC sentenced Lowndes to 18 months imprisonment, suspended for two years, with supervision and a high level activity requirement with the probation service.

He said they were “very serious and troubling offences.”

Lowndes had groomed and lied to the boys.

“If you start messing about with kids, I will send you to prison,” Judge Durham Hall told him.

The judge also made Lowndes the subject of an indefinite Sexual Harm Prevention Order and ordered him to sign on the sex offenders’ register for ten years.