August 2021

Preston sex offender tried to communicate with girls online

A convicted sex offender tried to encourage underage girls to take part in sexualised chats online.

John James Briggs, 34, of Tag Croft, Ingol, Preston, asked his victims about their bodies and offered to send them lewd pictures of his private parts, Preston Crown Court was told.

He was already subject to a 10 year Sexual Harm Prevention order at the time, and his current 12 offences put him in breach of prohibitions for using the internet to contact children.

The Honorary Recorder of Preston, Judge Robert Altham, jailed him for 34 months and ordered him to sign the Sex Offender’s Register for life.

Fiona McNeill, prosecuting, said Briggs was charged on February 17 in relation to six charges, but this led to six more offences being discovered.

In the first set of crimes, Briggs engaged in sexual conversation with a 15-year-old girl and 13-year-old via Whats App and Chat Avenue – though one was a member of a paedophile hunter group posing as a 13-year-old.

She added: “Initially bland responses were given but it’s made very clear how old this person is.

“He asked if she was single and whether she’d like to communicate on Whats App.”

Briggs asked the undercover woman if she was “into older men” and “liked naughty pics”.

He asked personal questions and requested they chat to “prove she was real”.

He also asked for a photo of her.

In the second set of offences, involving two fictitious girls – undercover police – Briggs flouted his order by again using online app Chat Avenue to engage in sexual conversations with whom he believed to be 13-year-old girls.

He asked if she “had boobs” and if she wanted a “”naughty photo of him”.

He sent the second person a link to a photograph of his private parts

Beverly Hackett, defending, said Briggs’ previous employer continues to offer him a job.

He admitted four counts of attempting to engage in sexual communication with a child, five of breaching his SHPO and three of failing to comply with notification requirements.