February 2021

Teen persuaded girl, 12, to send image of her in underwear

A shocked mother discovered her 12-year-old daughter had exchanged sexualised messages and swapped indecent images with an older teenage boy

Durham Crown Court was told she became concerned at her daughter’s “secretive behaviour”, being unwilling to allow her to scrutinise her phone early last year.

When she finally insisted on checking its contents, she came across an unrecognised phone number and was told it was a “mutual friend”.

It emerged her daughter had been exchanging messages via a chat room and text with a male, Shaun Williams, then aged 17, in which he inquired about intimate matters and asking her to send him sexual photographs, as well as mentioning that they should meet.

Jane Waugh, prosecuting, said the girl’s mother immediately stopped her daughter communicating with Williams and inquired as to the nature of the photographs.

The girl said he sent her pictures of his naked genitals and asked her to reciprocate.

It was reported to police, who arrested Williams and seized his phone for analysis.

Miss Waugh said the flavour of the messages became apparent, with Williams referring to the girl as, “Babes”, asking her about performing sexual acts.

The exchanged pictures included one sent by the girl of herself in her underwear.

Williams, now 18, of Westbourne Street, Stockton, admitted causing or inciting a girl under 13 to engage in sexual activity.

The case was adjourned for preparation of a psychiatric report on the defendant.

Judge Ray Singh said, “in essence” there was a form of grooming of a 12-year-old girl, which only ended when her mother discovered the nature of the messages.  

The judge said although Williams has some mental health issues, “in my view these do not provide meaningful mitigation”.

He imposed a two-year sentence in a young offenders’ institution and ordered that Williams should be subject to restrictions under a Sexual Harm Prevention Order, as well as registration as a sex offender, both for ten years.