August 2017

Dad-of-two sent girls 3,500 messages in a month…but didn’t know one was an undercover cop

A dad-of-two sent 3,500 online messages to girls in one month alone…but had no idea that one of them was in fact an undercover police officer.

Mark Roberts, of Ffordd Cynfal, Bangor, used the Kik messaging app to contact girls and women aged between 11 and 19.

Caernarfon Crown Court heard that, between April 27 and May 1, the 44-year-old sent sexually explicit messages and images to a 13-year-old girl called “Kayleigh Morris”.

But Simon Rogers, prosecuting, said police had started an undercover operation after receiving information about Roberts’ online behaviour in April.

“Kayleigh Morris” did not exist but was in fact an undercover police officer, he said.

Appearing from custody today, Roberts admitted three charges of attempting to incite a child under 13 to engage in sexual activity and was locked up for 40 months.

He also admitted five similar charges of attempting to incite older teenagers into sexual activty and two charges of possessing indecent images of children.

The court heard Roberts was “extremely persistent” and had sent 3,500 messages to girls in June alone.

Judge Tracey Lloyd-Clarke said: “These are very serious matters and your behaviour has drawn in a very large number of young girls.

“You were extremely persistent. The number of messages you sent in June alone shows how wide ranging they were.

“These offences are so serious only an immediate custodial sentence is appropriate.”

Roberts’ name will be on the Sex Offenders Register for life and on release he must comply with a Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

The judge also ordered his mobile phone be confiscated.

Describing Roberts’ contact with the undercover officer, Mr Rogers said: “He told her he was 35 and asked her age and was told she was 13.

“He then sent her sexually explicit messages and images and said her profile picture was pretty.

“He asked to meet up but there were no firm arrangements made to do so.”

Arrested on June 20, Roberts made full admissions to officers.

The court heard Roberts admitted sending sexually explicit images to girls and seeing which ones responded.

Roberts’ mobile phone was examined by experts, who found he had been sending a large number of messages, which led to the additional charges.

Mr Rogers said one of the girls contacted by Roberts was an 11-year-old who he asked to meet, and he sent several messages and images of himself to two 12-year-olds.

The court heard Roberts continued to send these girls messages even after they broke off contact.

Roberts accepted he had sent the messages and that no one else had access to his phone.