Man, 59, thought he was chatting online to girl, 13

A pervert made sexualised comments in online messages to what he believed was a 13-year-old girl, a court heard.

In reality, Michael Taylor, 59, was inadvertently communicating with an undercover police officer.

Durham Crown Court was told the “girl”, “Emma”, made it clear she was 13 soon after they “met” on the dating app Fast Flirting, on December 7.

Ian West, prosecuting, said their messaging moved to Whats App and remained “innocuous” on the first day.

But, when it resumed the next day he veered onto sex, asking if she was ever, “naughty on her own”, encouraging the girl to touch her private parts.

Upon arrest he was frank with police and the defendant, of Albert Street, Seaham, admitted attempting to incite a child to engage in sexual activity.

Recorder David Gordon said Taylor was “effectively a man of previous good character” and suspended the 12-month sentence for 18 months, during which he must complete 40 rehabilitation activity days and undergo a three-month 8pm to 7am home curfew.

Taylor will also be subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order and sex offender registration, both for ten years.