December 2018: Chester was sentenced to a total of five years of which he must serve a minimum of three years and nine months

November 2018

Swindon repeat-offender paedophile caught in online sting faces jail


A REPEAT sex offender who tried to meet a child he had groomed online has been warned he is facing jail.

Mark Chester used Facebook Messenger and chat rooms to contact what he thought was a young girl, despite being banned from doing so.

He was arrested in the wake of a sting by paedophile hunters who went to his home following online contact with him where they pretended to be an underage girl.

Now the 40-year-old, who was made the subject of an indefinite sexual offences prevention order, has been remanded in custody so pre-sentence report can be prepared to assess whether he is categorised as a dangerous offender.

Should a judge find he presents a significant risk of serious harm through future offending he may have to serve two thirds of any sentence imposed.

Chester, of Shrivenham Road, appeared in the dock at Swindon Crown Court where he pleaded guilty to attempting to meet a child following sexual grooming and breaching a sexual offenders prevention order.

His defence barrister Anna Midgley asked for the case to be adjourned so a pre-sentence report can be carried out on her client.

And she said an assessment by a psychiatrist or psychologist had been carried out for the sentencing hearing relating to one of his previous convictions.

It showed he had a mental age of about 14, she said.

She hoped the report could be made available to the sentencing court.

Judge Robert Pawson said he would put the case off to Wednesday December 19 and asked the report to consider whether Chester was a dangerous offender.

He said: “Mr Chester you have pleaded guilty to potentially serious criminal offences but as your barrister Miss Midgley points out the sentencing court, whoever the judge is, will be assisted by a pre-sentence report.

“Miss Midgley tells me that you tell her that you saw a psychologist or psychiatrist before and that report will also be made available.

He warned Chester: “I am not prejudging your case but, on the face of it, it clearly passes what we call the custodial threshold, which means the starting point is likely to be a period in prison.

“The fact I am ordering a pre-sentence report it could still be custody, that is the most likely result. You will remain in custody until then.”

Chester was jailed for two years in May last year after he was caught using computers in the library to contact girls as young as 11 online on Instagram and WhatsApp using the names Mark James and James Smith.

At the time he was on early release from a four-year sentence for six offences contacting an 11-year-old lad via his XBox and encouraged him to engage in sex acts while he was on a web cam. The alarm was raised when the child’s mother spotted a text on his phone.

That prison term was reduced from four and-a-half years by the Court of Appeal.

A year before that he was convicted of texting a 12-year-old girl and trying to get her to send nude photos.

May 2017

Sex offender contacted underage girls on library computers

A sex offender who used library computers to contact underage girls online has been jailed for two years.

Mark Chester, who had his earlier jail term slashed on appeal, was on early release from prison when he started contacting the youngsters as young as 11 years old.

The 39-year-old was jailed in 2013 after he contacted an 11-year-old boy via his XBox and encouraged him to engage in sex acts while he was on a web cam.

Although he got four-and-a-half years it was cut to just four years after judges at the Court of Appeal felt he had not been given enough credit for pleading guilty.

The former Burger King worker was also put on a sexual offences prevention order which restricted his liberty to contact children.

Rob Welling, prosecuting, told Swindon Crown Court that a former colleague of Chester alerted the police last summer after he contacted her on Facebook.

She told officers that it was clear he was following young girls on social media, knowing it breached the restriction.

When police went to his home they could not find any computers and he revealed he had been using library hardware to get on Instagram and WhatsApp.

Mr Welling said he was following 96 people, at least seven of which could be clearly identified from their profile as being under 16.

On social media he had used the names Mark James and James Smith, Mr Welling said.

Chester, formerly of Buckland Close, pleaded guilty to seven counts of breaching a sexual offences prevention order.

As well as the 2013 matter he was also convicted the year before of texting a 12-year-old girl he met on Facebook and trying to get her to exchange nude photos.

Judge Tim Mousley QC said: “I have to sentence you for seven offences each of being in breach of a sexual offences prevention order which was made back in 2013.”

April 2014

Paedophile has jail sentence cut

A paedophile from Swindon who groomed an 11-year-old boy on-line has won a substantial cut in his prison sentence on appeal.

Mark James Chester, 36, pleasured himself and tried to lure the young boy to his home while they chatted via a web camera on his Xbox console.

Chester, of Buckland Close, was jailed for four-and-half-years at Swindon Crown Court after he was convicted of six child sex offences, including inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, last August.

But three of the country’s most senior judges at London’s Appeal Court yesterday upheld a sentence challenge by Chester, cutting his jail term by six months after ruling that he did not get enough credit for pleading guilty. 

Judge Simon Bourne-Arton QC said Chester posed as a teenager when he made contact with the young victim as they accessed the web using their Xboxes.

The victim’s mother was alerted to Chester’s vile advances after she discovered a text to her son from Chester.

She arranged a sting web call between her son and the paedophile, and captured Chester inviting the boy to visit his house and to sleep with him in his bed, the appeal judge said.

Chester was arrested and denied any wrongdoing but, when police showed him the video footage recorded by the mother, he said it “made him sick”, although he could not remember the incident.

He later admitted three counts of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, two of engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child and one of causing a child to watch sexual activity.

Judge Bourne-Arton said Chester had a previous conviction for harassment in April, 2012, after he peppered a 12-year-old girl with text messages over a seven-day period, having befriended her on Facebook.

The author of a pre-sentence report had ranked him as a “high risk of serious harm to children”.
Chester’s lawyers argued that the judge erred in deducting just 12.5 per cent from his sentence for his guilty pleas.

Judge Bourne-Arton cut Chester’s overall jail term to four years.

October 2013

Man jailed for child sex offences

A sexual predator who groomed an 11-year-old boy online has been sentenced to four and-a-half years in jail.

Today at Swindon Crown Court, Mark James Chester, 35, (DOB: 11/02/1978), of Buckland Close, Swindon, has been sentenced to four and a half years imprisonment for a number of child sex offences.

Chester pleaded guilty to three counts of causing/inciting a male child under 13 to engage in sexual activity, two counts of engaging in sexual activity in the presence of a child and one count of causing a child under 13 to watch/look at an image of sexual activity.

PC Helen Bott of Swindon CID said: “Chester groomed a young child into engaging into conversations of a sexual nature.

“Despite knowing his victim was just 11 years old, he continued to pester him with text messages and through the internet to engage in sexual activity.

“As well as sending messages, Chester was able to perform sex acts on his webcam to the young victim. Luckily, the child did not have access to a webcam himself, but this highlights the danger of such equipment.

“Chester is a sexual predator who has preyed on a child to receive his own sexual gratification.

“This case should offer a stark reminder to young people and parents that any device with an internet connection can be used to exchange messages with strangers. It is important that appropriate safety controls are put in place and that parents are aware of what their children are using the internet for.

In addition to the custodial sentence, Chester was put on the Sex Offenders Register indefinitely.