March 2020

Ramsgate pervert targeted vulnerable child online but was snared by undercover officer posing as 12-year-old

A paedophile targeted a police officer posing as a vulnerable child online – then blamed his sordid antics on the loss of his beloved pet.

Ramsgate man, Tony Harris, 47, prowled social media site Kik and bombarded XKellyKell12X with filthy messages, pictures and videos.

But the 12-year-old user was in fact an undercover officer.

Harris, of Clements Road, pleaded guilty to attempting to sexually communicate and two counts of inciting sexual activity with a child.

He was jailed for three years at Canterbury Crown Court.

Under pseudonym Mark Jackson, heavy-set Harris posed as an athletic stripper from Londoner, prosecutors explained.

“When asked what she looked like Kelly made it quite clear she was only 12-years-old.

“She said she was in care and had to be careful in case she got into trouble,” barrister Allister Walker explained.

Harris then tried convincing Kelly to download specialist software to hide their conversation and urged her to perform a sex act.

Days later he appeared under another moniker in a bid to groom the undercover police officer before becoming more brazen.

Confidence growing, Harris would soon log-in under his real name and request Kelly to perform more serious sex acts on herself.

“Officers then went to an address in Clements Road, the defendant was cautioned and arrested,” Mr Walker explained.

The court heard Harris told the police “I don’t arrange to meet them” before giving a series of no comment interviews.

Harris’s defence argued the predator became isolated and depressed following a relationship breakdown coupled with the loss of the family pet.

Barrister Simon Taylor added his client plunged into a downward spiral of grief and mental health problems before repeatedly targeting the child from April to May in 2018.

Judge Rupert Lowe jailed Harris for three years and ordered he is subjected to a 10-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order on release.

“Following the loss of a relationship and the loss of a pet you became very depressed, barely leaving your flat and started spending a great deal of time on the computer,” Judge Rupert Lowe said.

Harris began seeking increasingly extreme methods of sexual gratification before finally “attempting to corrupt a 12-year-old” in care, the judge added.

Dressed in a grey shirt and dark jacket Harris nodded as the sentencing was passed.

He will be added to the Sex Offencers’ Register for the rest of his life.