June 2021

Paedophile jailed after young girl’s mum turns detective to force Leicestershire Police probe

A predatory paedophile who pestered a 12-year-old girl to send him intimate images of herself has been jailed after her mother turned detective to force a Leicestershire Police investigation.

The force had initially refused to take action, but was eventually compelled to become involved due to mounting evidence of the 40-year-old offender’s increasingly shocking and dangerous behaviour, a court heard.

Oliver Anthony, of Egdon Crescene, in Cheltenham, was sentenced to three years in prison at Gloucester Crown Court on Friday June 25.

The sentencing hearing was told that when the girl’s mother discovered communications between Anthony and her daughter, she took over the conversation in a bid to discover his identity.

Prosecutor Virginia Cornwall said: “The girl received a text message on June 25 last year, which read, ‘Hi ya xx’ from Anthony who had just been given a Sim-only contract on his phone by his partner.

“The girl challenged him, asking, ‘Who’s this?’ and she got a reply back saying it was Ben Howell and he wanted to know her name.

“Anthony sent the girl a picture of his face and she replied ‘I don’t know you’ and refused to send him a picture of herself. She declined his offer of getting to know each other.

“She told him he was a lot older than she was at the age of 12. Anthony stated he was 20 and requested that they should get to know each other and sent a text message, ‘Wanna chat anyway?’

“Anthony did not send another message for a couple of days but then sent her one saying ‘Hey babe, text back xx’ and a further message, ‘Send a picture and I’ll send one back’.

“And further messages, ‘Please reply, I miss you’ and, ‘Come on babe text me xx’ were received while the girl’s brother was using the phone.”

Shae added: “The girl’s mother had also become increasingly concerned when her daughter’s phone kept going off and took possession of the device.

“The same day, June 28, the mother reported the issue to Leicestershire Police while she decided to continue engaging with Anthony herself. The force carried out an initial investigation, but decided initially not to take any further action into the matter.

“However, an exchange of 155 messages then ensued and the mother sent him a picture of a young girl to which Anthony replied, ‘Dam you are hot, how old are you?’ and she sent a message back saying she was 12.

Anthony then sent an image of his private parts and requested intimate pictures of the girl in return. He also told her to keep their relationship a secret as he didn’t want her to get into trouble because the police might be able to trace her text messages.

He then told the woman that his name was Chris and that he was at his father’s house and was aged 18

The girl’s mother then stopped responding, but then received a message on July 12 from Anthony who said, ‘You not talking to me now then? Shall I delete your number?’

“The woman then continued trying to get information from Anthony who now claimed he was Chris Hale and said that he originally claimed he was 20 just in case she had been an older teenager,” the prosecutor said.

“He constantly tried to reassure the woman, who was still pretending to be her daughter that he was genuine and sent her a photograph of a passport with the name.”

The mother then texted Anthony back a few times and on September 8, after she had received another text asking for intimate pictures she told him that he had been texting her rather than her daughter. The woman then contacted Leicestershire Police again with the additional information she had obtained.

Anthony was subsequently arrested after subscriber checks were carried out. He claimed that he had lost the phone while on holiday at Centre Parcs, the same day as the confrontation with the girl’s mother.

Anthony pleaded guilty to attempting to incite a girl aged 12 to engage in sexual activity between the June 26 and July 10, 2020 involving the penetration of her vagina and for the purpose of obtaining sexual gratification attempted to communicate with the 12-year-old girl in a sexual manner between the same dates.

Judge Ian Lawrie QC said to Anthony: “This offence is so serious that only a custodial sentence can be justified and the least possible sentence I can impose having regard to the seriousness of the offence is three years.”

The judge sentenced Anthony to be subjected to the terms of the Sexual Harm Prevention Order for life and sign the sex offenders’ register for the same time period.