February 2021

Suspended sentence for man who sent explicit image to ‘girl’

A pervert told police he’d not realised the “girl” to whom he was chatting online was 13 – as a shaft of sunlight had obscured that message on his phone.

Kevin Curran’s claims were undermined by the fact the “girl” had spoken to him about school lessons, being bullied and her mum.

Notwithstanding her self-declared age, over three weeks last spring 32-year-old Curran sent the girl a picture of his privates and pestered her to send images of herself naked.

Judge Jason Taylor QC suspended Curran’s 16 month prison sentence for a year-and-a-half.

Prosecutor Lucy Taylor told Swindon Crown Court on Friday that Curran had sent a friend request to a decoy Facebook account last January.

The account, which claimed to be in the name of a 13-year-old called Jessica Miles, was run by paedophile hunter group The Ghosts.

Ms Taylor said: “The decoy accepted the request and it was made very clear that she was 13 years old and Mr Curran responded with his age being 31.”

The conversation had begun innocuously. However, over a two week period from March 29 to April 12, it turned explicit. Curran sent the “girl” an image of his privates and a screenshot from a pornographic website.

He pestered her to reciprocate with an image of her naked chest. “I sent you pictures of my c*** now it’s your turn,” he wrote. “Jessica” replied that her mother had told her never to send such pictures and she was too young.

Curran was said to have persisted in his requests and also asked her to send pictures of herself in the bath.

Quizzed by the police, Curran admitted sending an explicit picture of himself but denied knowing “Jessica” was 13. Ms Taylor told the judge: “He said that the sun was shining on his phone at the time and he thought she was 18.” The prosecutor added that “Jessica” had told Curran of being a schoolchild, getting bullied and her hatred of PE.  

Defending, Rhianna Fricker said her client had suffered a significant brain injury in 2014. The injury had left him with significant difficulties; he was unable to leave the house on his own as he was easily led.

Although he had 43 convictions on his record for more than 80 offences, all dated from before his brain injury. He had not been in trouble since and had cut his ties with previous associates.

Ms Fricker noted that many of the interactions between her client and “Jessica” had been started by the decoy account. Curran’s electronic devices were seized but police had found no illegal material on them.

Curran, of Beechcroft Road, pleaded guilty at the magistrates’ court to attempting to cause or incite a girl aged 13-15 to engage in sexual activity.

Sentencing Curran to 16 months’ imprisonment suspended for 18 months, Judge Taylor said: “You were persistent in your approach and your requests, even telling her that her mother didn’t need to know what she was doing to try and facilitated what you wanted for your own sexual gratification.”

He noted that the defendant’s mental health difficulties were powerful mitigation. That, coupled with the change in his lifestyle, the realistic prospect of rehabilitation and the fact he was supported by his mother and stepfather, meant he was prepared to suspended Curran’s prison sentence, the judge said.

He ordered Curran complete up to 50 rehabilitation activity requirement days and a curfew. He must register as a sex offender for 10 years and was made subject to a 10 year sexual harm prevention order.