May 2021

Bracknell man who told girl he wanted to ‘kidnap her’ avoids jail

A minibus driver who text a girl with ‘special needs to tell her she was “sexy” and that he wanted to “kidnap her” will avoid jail.

Ian Phillips, of Keepers Coombe, Bracknell, was given a six-month suspended prison sentence for his ‘offensive’ message and for possessing more than 50 indecent images of children and animals.

A court heard how the 58-year-old used to drive the girl to school in a minibus with other children.

Years later, he messaged her over Facebook in texts which were “benign at first, but increased in their intensity.”

Prosecuting, Jack Wright said Phillips sent the girl a message which read: “Hey sexy girl, how are you? Can I kidnap you and tie you up?”

The girl was said to be ‘shocked’ at this message and told her carers about it.

Police then spoke to Phillips, seizing his mobile phone and computer where they found more than 50 indecent images and videos of children and animals.

The 58-year-old was arrested in May 2019.

Defending, Andrew Storch said the girl, who was said to have special needs, was driven to school by Phillips for five years in a minibus with several other children.

He was able to obtain their mobile numbers in case he needed to text them about changes to lift schedules.

In February 2019, after he stopped driving the girl to school, Phillips found her page on Facebook and “noticed she had grown into a woman”.

Mr Storch continued: “At the time, he thought he was writing a joke.

“Obviously he understands the recipient did not take it as a joke.

Mr Storch said in the past two years Phillips has “regretted” the message and has shown “huge remorse”.

“He knows how unacceptable that message was”, he added.

Sentencing, Judge Edward Burgess said: “[The girl] was someone you knew and you knew she was a vulnerable age.

“I have no doubt you entertained real sexual fantasies about her. Whether you intended to act on these fantasies is unknown.”

Judge Burgess sentenced Phillips to six months imprisonment for the five offences he pleaded guilty to, suspended for 18 months.

Alongside this, Phillips will have to undertake a range of rehabilitation courses designed to “prevent” him from offending again, the Judge said.

He was handed a sexual harm prevention order for seven years and a restraining order from the girl for five years.

Phillips appeared at Reading Crown Court for his sentencing on Thursday, May 13 after pleading guilty to three counts of making indecent photographs of a child, one count of possessing an extreme pornographic image of an animal, and one count of sending a communication with an offensive message.