November 2016

Sex offender sent this shower pic to a ‘teenage girl’ – she was actually an online paedophile hunter

james-hanson

A sex offender who sent a picture of himself in the shower to a girl he thought was 14 was actually talking to an online paedophile hunter.

The 37-year-old, who is engaged to be married, also encouraged the ‘girl’ to masturbate as they chatted on Facebook.

But Bristol Crown Court was told that James Hanson’s lewd conversations were with a member of a group called the Online Predator Investigation Team, who studiously logged all the details of the conversation and passed it on to police.

Hanson spent hours on Facebook telling what he believed to be a girl called Ellie how wonderful she was. He eventually “unfriended” her but not until he had tried to persuade her to touch herself intimately.

Hanson, of Charlock Road in Weston-super-Mare, pleaded guilty to attempting to a charge of incite a child to engage in sexual activity in January 2015.

Jennifer Tallentire, prosecuting, said a Facebook profile was set up purporting to be a girl aged 14.

She said: “It was created in order to give information to police in a preventative way. There was no ‘Ellie’.

“The defendant made contact with her via Facebook. He knew she was 14. Her date of birth was 24.11.2000. He was 37 at the time.”

The court heard he made a friend request to her and they had sexualised conversations for around six weeks before he unfriended her.

Miss Tallentire made it clear that it was Hanson who was instigating sex talk, not Ellie.

The court was presented with logs of a chat in January last year, which read as follows:

Hanson: “Can I ask you to touch urself now? As we are chatting? Xx”

Ellie: “where”

Hanson: “On ur privates…xx”

Ellie: “I dunno nvr done that x”

Hanson: “Hehe its ok,, all you do is place a finger or two on the top n give it a gentle rub up n down ,,, few times. After a while ,,, you will feel hot …maybe try placing a fingertip inside urself ..ull see wat I mean… xx.”

Ellie: “I dunno seems weird x”

Hanson: “Ok… maybe try wen ur a lil older… xx”

Ellie: “yeh x”

Hanson: “Its called masterbating. Sorry for being rude ..,”

Kerry Barker, defending, said: “This was totally out of character.”

He indicated to a full public gallery containing Hanson’s family, his fiancée and her family.

His mother-in-law-to-be told the court: “He’s a great guy, honest and hard-working.

“This is out of character for James. He is generous and helpful. He’ll do anything to help anybody.”

Another character witness described Hanson as “clumsy and gullible”, saying he once deep fat fried a pasty.

Mr Barker said Hanson now recognised the impact it would have had, had the fictional girl been real.

He told the court: “He sent photographs of himself. All the more stupid, one may think.

“To his credit he did in fact stop the behaviour, without knowing the girl concerned was a fictional character.”

This image of a Facebook page shows some of the suggestions made to the ‘girl’ by Hanson

Judge Julian Lambert handed Hanson a two-year-community order, with 120 hours of unpaid work and 60 days’ rehabilitation.

The judge told him: “There was no child. But the seriousness is there might have been such a child.

“It came to light by concerned citizens good enough to monitor the internet for people like you.

“The pre-sentence report says you are terrified of the potential consequences of conviction.

“Yes, you should have been terrified.”

The judge handed Hanson a seven-year Sexual Harm Prevention Order, banning him from unchecked internet use.

He was told to register as a sex offender for five years.