July 2020

Kik social media app: Paedophile snared by undercover Essex police officer

A pervert told who he thought was a 12-year-old girl that he wanted to live with her and “treat her like a queen”.

Paul Phillips has been given a suspended prison sentence after being snared by an undercover officer on the social media site called Kik.

The 58-year-old of Amberden, Basildon, had began messaging the profile of a girl called “Sophia” who described herself as a 12-year-old living in Devon.

Phillips began a normal conversation with her but quickly moved onto asking about her appearance and what she was wearing.

Between then and March the messages between the two became more sexual, and at one stage Phillips encouraged “Sophia” to perform a sex act on herself.

He also sent photos of himself to her when he was wearing just his underwear, and would tell her that he “loved her”.

Phillips would also encourage her to get her own mobile phone so they could talk and meet up.

He kept saying he had feelings for her and that he wanted to move in with her.

However, “Sophia” was in fact an undercover police officer working in Essex.

Things came to a head in March 2018 when police raided Phillips’ home and retrieved evidence of the conversations and pictures sent.

The police also found on his computer an image of a person performing a sex act on a cow.

Phillips went on to admit seven offences including sexual communications with a child and inciting a child to engage in sexual activity.

Mitigation for Phillips said he has the support of his family and that his actions were completely out of character, and that it was “a fantasy” of his and nothing more.

Judge Andrew Hurst told Phillips that he would not send him to prison out of concern for the welfare of his two children.

He said: “You told police this was a fantasy. The pre-sentence report said this was predatory behaviour and grooming behaviour, and that is correct.

“You thought this girl really was 12 years old, you thought about sex.”

Phillips received two years in prison suspended for two years.