September 2016

Married man exchanged indecent pictures with 14-year-old girl – but she was undercover cop

A “bored” husband who thought he was secretly exchanging “naughty” pictures with a 14-year-old schoolgirl was really chatting up an undercover police officer.

His wife later “kicked him out” because of his “very disturbing conduct” and he was lucky that the police stopped him in time, a court heard.

Andrew Meikle, 28, of Main Road, Brigsley, admitted attempting to cause or incite a child to engage in sexual activity, attempting to engage in sexual activity in the presence of a child and possessing indecent images of children.

Nick Adlington, prosecuting, told Grimsby Crown Court that Meikle believed he was communicating over the internet with a 14-year-old schoolgirl living in London – but it was really an undercover police officer.

He asked the supposed girl, on October 25, for a picture of herself in her school uniform. She did so and they exchanged pictures.

He suggested they share “naughty” pictures and he asked her what she was wearing.

Meikle sent her an intimate picture of himself and asked the non-existent girl: “You like?”

This was an invitation to her about having sex with him, said Mr Adlington.

Meikle asked for more indecent images and offered to expose himself.

Police arrested him on October 31 and later found indecent images of young girls.

Craig Lowe, mitigating, said that Meikle began his sexual behaviour after getting “bored” while he was on his own and his wife was not there.

His wife had “kicked him out” and he was now living with his mother. He had no previous convictions.

Judge David Tremberg told Meikle that he had been “drawn into a deeply inappropriate and unsavoury course of communication” with someone he thought was a 14-year-old girl.

“You engaged in some very disturbing conduct with this apparent schoolgirl,” said Judge Tremberg.

“You persisted with your sexual communication with her.

“Children under 16 should not be exposed to the sexual interests of people like you.

“They do not have the level of emotional maturity to understand fully the choices that you might be inviting them to make.

“No child was actually involved at all. You should be thankful to the police because they stopped you digging yourself deeper and deeper into a hole which would have resulted in you ending up in prison for years.”

Meikle, who is working, was given a six-month suspended prison sentence, with a sex offender treatment programme and ten days’ rehabilitation.

He was given a seven-year sexual harm prevention order and must register as a sex offender for seven years.