November 2016

Sex offender approached boy, 13

A SEX offender enticed a boy to email indecent photographs of himself, after striking up a friendship on a social network.

Anthony Pennington used their mutual support of Oldham Athletic FC to get close to the 13-year-old, Manchester’s Minshull Street Crown Court was told.

He admitted a charge of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity, but was spared being sent down because of legal delays.

The 30-year old was jailed for a total of 15 months in March last year for possession and distribution of indecent images of a child, and breaching the terms of a sexual offences prevention order.

The court was told the six pictures of the 13-year-old had been on his computer which had been seized by police, at the time, but he had not been charged with incitement ­- the most serious offence ­- until after sentencing.

Kirsten Beswick, defending, said that Pennington, of Whitstable Close, Chadderton, though not making an issue of it, felt he was perhaps being “doubly punished”.

She said it had taken until June of this year for the matter to reach the magistrates’ courts, adding: “I don’t understand why there were delays. It was very odd and very unfortunate.”

Sentencing him, Judge Timothy Mort told him: “You came before the court before this came to light. The time-scale went wrong; it was hopelessly out off sync.”

He told Pennington that had the offence been dealt with at the same time, it would probably have meant a further custodial sentence, but added: “It seems to me wrong to send you back to prison.

“It wasn’t that you were not admitting what you had done, and you would have pleaded guilty at the time.”

Pennington has been given a 12-month sentence suspended for 18 months, and he will be subject to 12 months supervision by the Probation Service.

The judge said he took into account the fact that he was taking part in a treatment programme which appeared to be working.

Juliet Berry, prosecuting, said Pennington had contacted the youngster via the internet chat site and it had been quite obvious that he was a young teenager.

After being arrested, he accepted getting sexual gratification from looking at the photographs.