April 2021

‘Creepy’ Ellesmere Port man’s sex chats with ‘girl, 12

A “creepy, dirty” Ellesmere Port sex offender believed he was chatting up a 12-year-old girl online – but it was actually a National Crime Agency operative in disguise.

Steven Moore, 51, of Lamprey Road, pretended to be a 19-year-old bisexual when using the Kik Messenger chat and asked ‘Jess’ questions about her sexual history.

When police attended his home in January 2020, they confiscated a Huawei mobile phone and found an indecent 58-second video of an underage girl in the shower.

Judge Patrick Thompson, sentencing Moore at Chester Crown Court on Thursday, April 8, said he “deserved” to go to prison, but handed him a suspended sentence after hearing of the success rate of sex offender treatment programmes, and that sending Moore to prison would mean his nine-months-pregnant wife would be unable to pay the mortgage and therefore be homeless.

But Judge Thompson was also critical of the prosecution for charging Moore with ‘engaging in sexual communication with a child’, which carries a maximum sentence of two years imprisonment, rather than a more serious charge which carries a longer prison term as the maximum sentence.

He said: “The courts’ powers are restricted; the judges don’t choose the charges. I have said this in other cases and the public then complain about the sentences.

“It’s happening time and time again. I have spoken to the other judges in this court about it and we are frustrated – our powers are extremely limited.”

Prosecuting, Ryan Rothwell said Moore had pleaded guilty to the two charges.

It was in August 2019 when Moore, using the online alias Daveixxx, used Kik Messenger and contacted ‘Jess’, appearing to be a 12-year-old girl but who was actually an NCA operative catching out paedophiles.

Moore said he was 19, “bisexual and bored”, when actually he was 49 at the time.

They talked about where they lived and Moore said he had had an invite from a man to an ‘SPH’ chat room – or ‘small penis humiliation’.  

Upon ‘Jess’ saying she had had her nails painted, he asked for a picture, adding: “Please baby”.

After being sent a picture which also showed a girl’s legs, he replied: “Your legs look nice too.”

He asked ‘Jess’ for a picture of her stomach, and at one point messaged: “Is it really bad I am feeling naughty?”

He then wrote: “You’re not going to tell your friends you have been talking to a 19-year-old are you?”

Moore then asked for the girl to call him a name such as ‘sir’ or ‘daddy’, adding: “Ok baby, are you willing to do as your sir says?”

He asked her about her bra size, and upon being told a measurement, replied: “So small :P”

Moore asked if the girl had touched herself and went into detail enquiring about sexual activities the girl had had with her former partner.

Moore’s IP address was traced to his home and police attended in January 2020 at 6.45am, seizing his mobile phone, for which Moore refused to give the PIN.

Having unlocked it, one of the search terms Moore had used was “underage”.

The defendant had no previous convictions.

Judge Thompson remarked that police had the Kik Messenger evidence already, yet it took several more months before Moore was charged and the case could have been brought to court “a lot sooner”.

Mr Jones said Moore had completed the Lucy Faithfull course for people who had offended online, doing something to address his behaviour.

The barrister had also obtained a document on the day of the defendant’s sentencing, in which Moore admitted he had an unhealthy sexual interest in children.

The original pre-sentence report was a cause for concern as it had suggested Moore committed the offences due to being “stressed and overwhelmed with work”.

Judge Thompson remarked: “I’m no psychiatrist, but people, when they’re stressed, don’t go on the internet to talk to children about sexual matters.”

He added: “I don’t even know what Kik Messenger is, other than dealing with cases like these. Men in their 50s should not be engaging in these sorts of conversations on there.”

Mr Jones added if Moore went to prison, his nine-months-pregnant wife would be left homeless.

Sentencing, Judge Thompson said: “You said you were bisexual and bored – the truth is you were grooming. You came across as a creepy, dirty old man.

“You put it down to stress in your job; I don’t accept that. I put it down to you having an unhealthy sexual interest in children. If you didn’t accept that today, then you would be going to prison.”

Moore was handed an eight-month sentence, suspended for two years. He musty complete 20 days of a rehabilitation activity requirement to include the Maps for Change course.

He must also complete 200 hours unpaid work, was put on the sex offenders register for 10 years, and made the subject of a 10-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order.

The Huawei phone was to be confiscated.