September 2017

Man who groomed girl, 14, is spared jail after judge says he would be ‘vulnerable’ in prison

A man who convinced a 14-year-old girl to send him naked pictures of herself has been spared jail after a judge said he would be ‘vulnerable’ in prison.

Nathan Read, 26, from Gorton, met the girl through the website Omegle.

Read was sentenced to a three-year community order during which he must complete a sex offenders’ programme.

Prosecuting, Justin Hayhoe told how Read began to speak to the girl on Omegle.

She and another girl decided to use the website, which pairs strangers together at random, for a ‘giggle’, Manchester Crown Court heard.

She chatted to Read for about 30 minutes. Read then invited the girl, who told him she was a child, to talk further via the Kik Messenger app.

Read lied and said he was 18, and over the following days and weeks the messages became more sexualised.

Read asked the girl to send naked pictures of herself, and he would send pictures of his genitals.

He also persuaded the girl to go on a video webcam, and to perform a sex act upon herself.

During their conversations Read told the girl that if she stopped messaging him he would commit suicide.

After about six months of their contact, the girl had her phone confiscated by her parents.

The police were alerted and when Read was arrested, officers seized a laptop, mobile phone and memory stick, items which also contained 40 indecent images.

Mr Hayhoe said Read had studied IT at college, and had gained a distinction in the course.

“This is a man who knew exactly what he was doing”, he added.

Both Omegle and Kik Messenger have been the subject of controversy following concerns about child sexual exploitation.

Read is said to have contacted eight other children online, some as young as eight.

The judge said that Read, of Goulder Road, Gorton, has a ‘minimal risk of further offending’ and wanted to give the maximum amount of time possible to allow him the chance of rehabilitation.

Addressing Read, the judge said: “You are being given an opportunity because I believe it’s in the best interests of the public at large.”

Read, who admitted two counts of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity and two counts of possessing indecent images of children, must also sign the sex offenders register for five years.