November 2020

Dad who sent disgusting sex pics and video to ‘girls’ walks free

A dad-of-one who sent two ‘girls’ naked photos and a video of himself masturbating has been spared jail.

John Childs told “Zoe” and “Kelly” he wanted to have sex with them and urged the children to send him naked pictures in return.

The married 51-year-old, who referred to himself as “Bossman”, even said he would visit one child to have sex with her in his car.

But the whole time the “disgusting” pervert, of Waldgrave Road, Wavertree, was actually talking to undercover police officers.

He walked free from court after a judge said he had a “difficult childhood” and there was “an excellent prospect of rehabilitation”.

Liverpool Crown Court heard Merseyside Police received information that Childs had sexual conversations with two people on a website called Chatiw in 2018 and 2019.

Martyn Walsh, prosecuting, said Kelly and Zoe both told him they were 13-year-old girls from the Derry area of Ireland and mentioned going to school.

But that didn’t make a difference to Childs, who used profiles named Bossman, John Never You Mind and John Heron, and claimed to be from the Manchester area.

Childs asked Kelly if she had ever seen a penis, whether she performed sex acts, and whether she would send naked pictures to him and wanted to see his penis.

Their conversation moved to Kik Messenger, when he sent a photo of a penis and asked for photos of her, saying that he wanted to have sex with her.

His chats with Zoe involved him instructing her how to perform a sex act, before again moving to Kik, when he sent her two pictures of penises and a video of him masturbating.

Mr Walsh said: “Mr Child tells Zoe in the chat he will go and visit her and that they can have sex in his car when he does visit her.

“There were no further arrangements made to visit her in terms of booking of any hotels or any flights or the like.”

Police raided his family home on February 12 last year, when they seized a Samsung mobile phone containing the photos and video.

When interviewed by police, Childs admitted having the conversations with the two officers.

However, Mr Walsh said: “He said it was fantasy and that people often engage in conversations of that type without actually believing the other person is 13.

“Obviously by way of his pleas he now changes that stance.”

Childs admitted seven counts of attempted sexual communication with a child and one count of attempting to cause a child to watch a sexual act.

Judge Garrett Byrne said Childs was of “good character” until he committed these crimes, over a period of about five months.

He said: “These are clearly very serious matters, which cross the custody threshold. Your behaviour is deeply concerning and disgusting, which you, I think, accept.

“Now on the other hand, these are of course attempts. There was no actual child at risk at any time, because these were undercover police officers.

“There was and never would have been any physical contact between you and these young putative children, nor did you make any attempts to meet any young child.”

Judge Byrne said nothing else of concern was recovered on Childs’ electronic devices.

He said: “You have expressed a high degree of shame and remorse, and it’s very much to your credit that you have sought out and are receiving help from a counsellor, who specialises in this sort of behaviour.

“You’re a hard working man and have been for all of your life and I note from the pre-sentence report you’ve had a difficult childhood. I will say nothing more about that in open court.

“You’re married and have a young son. I read your letter thoroughly. I note that you now accept you have a problem and you’ve sought out help.”

Judge Byrne said a psychotherapist found Childs was engaging well and the Probation Service concluded he was a low risk of re-offending.

He said: “In your case I’ve taken the view there is an excellent prospect of rehabilitation. There is no history of breaching any court orders.

“The only issue is whether these offences are so serious that only an immediate term of custody can be justified.

“When you sent these messages you did so for sexual gratification but you did not intend to act upon them in any way or meet up with any children.

That makes a significant difference in my view and allows me to suspend the sentence.

“I’ve also had regard to the impact any sentence would have given the pandemic and the impact of any sentence on your young son and wife.”

Judge Byrne handed Childs 12 months in jail, suspended for two years, plus a 40-day Rehabilitation Activity Requirement and 40 hours of unpaid work.

Childs must sign on the Sex Offenders Register for 10 years and comply with a Sexual Harm Prevention Order for five years.