December 2015

West Cornwall man encouraged girl, 12, to send naked pictures

A West Cornwall man convinced a 12-year-old girl to send him naked pictures of herself.

Christopher Archer, 20, of St Buryan, communicated with the girl on Facebook, Truro Crown Court heard on Tuesday.

Lee Bremridge, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said the offences were discovered after concerns were raised about the sexual nature of comments Archer had been making on the social networking site.

Of the messages between him and the girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, Mr Bremridge said: “At first there was nothing sexual or dirty in the messages that were being exchanged between them.

“She described how Christopher would send her messages asking ‘can I kiss all of you?’Asking for naked images.

“She told the police that she too had sent dirty messages back to Christopher but denied sending or receiving any photos.”

Mr Bremridge said further examination of the material revealed this denial to be untrue.

“It was obvious that photos had been sent or received and that Christopher had initiated her to do that,” he said.

The court heard Archer had been examined by a clinical psychologist who diagnosed him with a learning disability and low IQ.

Mr Bremridge said: “[He has] problems knowing the boundaries of relationships both socially and sexually.”

At an earlier hearing, Archer pleaded guilty to two counts of causing or inciting a child aged under-13, who cannot be named for legal reasons, to engage in sexual activity.

The court heard he had been cautioned in July – about a month prior to this offence – for sexual assault.

Robin Smith, for the defence, said Archer had suffered extreme abuse as a baby before being taken into care and then adopted.

Mr Smith said the abuse had a significant impact on his emotional and behavioural development and that he operated at the level of an early teen.

Sentencing, Judge Christopher Harvey Clark, QC, said everything must be done to prevent Archer from offending again in the future.

He was sentenced to 12 months in a young offenders’ institution suspended for 12 months and ordered to be under the supervision of the probation service for the same period.

Archer was made the subject of a sexual harm prevention order and told to sign the sex offenders’ register.

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