January 2021

Oxford paedophile caught in undercover trap sent explicit photos to children

A 41-year-old caught in a sting operation sending photos of his private body parts to decoy children has been sentenced to eight years imprisonment.

David Appleton, of Wilkins Road, Oxford had sexual communications with three fake children aged 11 and 12 years old.

In the online chats, with what was really undercover officers, he sent obscene photos to two girls ‘Nina’ and ‘Chloe’.

Outlining the case today, prosecutor Henrietta Paget said that using his online name ‘submissivedave29’, Appleton engaged in a conversation with ‘Nina’ where he talked about sex and asked her to send a photo of her private body parts despite her telling him that she was 12.

When talking to ‘Chloe’ online, Appleton encouraged her to perform a sex act despite her telling him she was also 12 years old.

When he communicated with ‘Paige’ online, he told her that he would teach her about sex, persuaded her to perform a sex act and told her she was ‘sexy’.

She told him that she was 11 years old.

A child online safety team went to Appleton’s address and he was arrested.

His mobile phone was seized and photos on the device matched images that were sent to the decoys.

He pleaded guilty on November 26, 2020 to attempting to incite a child under 13 years old to engage in sexual activity and attempting to engage in sexual activity by penetration of a child.

At his sentencing at Oxford Crown Court, Judge Nigel Daly said to Appleton: “The internet can be useful, but it can also be used for abuse.

“You were attempting to communicate for your own sexual practices. You knew that you intended to contact young girls.”

The court ruled that although no sex act occurred and no harm was caused because of the fact that the girls were not real, intention had to be considered.

However, Judge Daly said he displayed ‘grooming behaviour’.

Ms McIntyre told the court that Appleton was born in Oxford and works as a bricklayer.

She said he has two children with his partner and pays for their upkeep, and going to prison will mean he will not receive any income to support his family who have had to use foodbanks and have been struggling in lockdown.

She added that Appleton was ‘tearful, full of regret and fully aware of the seriousness of what he’s done’ and that he is a ‘man who has very little support from anyone’.

Ms McIntyre said he had been assessed as ‘medium risk’ to harm children and that the risk could be managed in the community through ‘intensive intervention’.