May 2021

Paedophile sent ‘disgusting’ messages to ‘young girl’

A paedophile who sent “disgusting” and “disturbing” images to someone he had been tricked into thinking was a teenage girl has avoided prison.

Nigel George Websdale, 60, was sentenced at Truro Crown Court today (May 14) for attempting sexual communication with a child.

The court heard how a decoy Facebook account was set up by internet child protection group Captis Malum in January last year.

The account used the alias of a 14-year-old girl with a profile that said she loved music, shopping and animals.

On the morning of February 18 last year, the account received a friend request from Websdale.

The defendant was told ‘Sophie’ was 14 and at first the conversation was quite general but soon turned sexual on the part of Websdale, of Amble Road, Callington.

The prosecution said his communication was “simply disgusting” and a “depraved” attempted grooming by an adult towards a young teenage girl.

Websdale encouraged the profile of Sophie to engage in masturbation and he sent her a picture of a vagina with the message “it would help you practice”.

The last contact the account received from Websdale was on February 27, 2020.

Two days later members of Captis Malum attended his family address in Callington and confronted him.

Police attended and he was arrested and taken into custody in Newquay.

He told police he thought the profile was “some sort of a scam” and a “false account” and he was “simply playing along” because he believed the person to be aged over 16.

Judge Simon Carr said Websdale experienced “a moment of insanity” and he was a man of previous impeccable character.

He said: “The access to the internet is now almost limitless and people go down dark tunnels they might not have otherwise gone down.”

Although he said the images were “an aggravating feature” he highlighted that there was no attempt from Websdale to meet the ‘young girl’.

The court heard how Websdale is working as a part time cleaner after losing his job in a management position.

Meanwhile, the defence said he will pay any costs because “that’s the sort of man he is”.

Judge Carr said: “You chose to contact a 14-year old girl or a person you believed to be a 14-year-old girl on the internet, then over a relatively short period of time – a matter of a couple of weeks – you communicated with her in a way that was highly sexual, including sending an indecent image to her.

“These conversations are disturbing, particularly disturbing, as you thought it was a 14-year-old girl. However it’s important to place each and every one of these cases in their correct category.”

Judge Carr said: “Most importantly you make no request to meet her which is an aggravating feature in many of these cases.”

He said Websdale has accepted responsibility for what he did but has brought shame upon himself.

He said he believed rehabilitation was possible and the risk he posed to the community could be managed.

He sentenced Websdale to eight months imprisonment suspended for two years. He was also given 30 days rehabilitation activity.

He was ordered to pay £750 for the cost of the prosecution.

And he will be subject to a Sexual Harm Prevention Order (SHPO) for five years and placed on the sex offenders register.