May 2019: Now released

December 2017

Facebook pervert who preyed on young girls has jail term slashed

A pervert who was caged after using Facebook to hunt down underage girls has seen his sentence slashed by appeal judges in London.

Joshua Sean Parker, of Sutton Court, Devonport, preyed on girls as young as 12 and groomed one 15-year-old for sex.

He sent sexually explicit photographs and messages and made a video call to one girl as he masturbated.

Parker, 20, pleaded guilty to five offences at Plymouth Crown Court and was sentenced to a total of six years and four months in March.

But he appealed and, after a hearing before senior judges, saw his term slashed to five years at the Court of Appeal.

Judge Mark Lucraft QC and Mrs Justice Nicola Davies said the original sentence was “manifestly excessive”.

The court heard Parker had used fake Facebook accounts to contact a series of young girls during the early part of last year.

Messages were often sordid and sexual, with a 12-year-old girl receiving a video call showing him masturbating.

A 15-year-old victim agreed to meet him last year and had sex with him on more than one occasion.

Another girl, who was only 14, also met up with Parker and “kissed and cuddled”, Judge Lucraft told the court.

Lawyers for Parker argued at the Court of Appeal that the sentence he received was too long.

The girl he had had sex with – referred to as C – was under the age of consent, but only by a year and at a time when Parker himself was only 18 or 19, they said.

And the crown court judge should have taken more account of a psychological assessment of Parker when passing sentence.

The assessment referred to him being “severely anxious and depressed” and at potential risk of self-harm, the judges were told.

Ruling on the case, Judge Lucraft said: “This was not a singular incident and there was an element of grooming.”

But he continued: “In our judgment, the judge did not given sufficient weight to the age of C and Parker, nor did he give sufficient weight to the psychological assessment.

“In our judgment, the total sentence passed was manifestly excessive.

“The overall sentence should have been one of the order of five years’ detention in a young offenders’ institution.”

Parker had pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual activity with a child, causing a child to watch a sexual act, attempting to cause a child to watch a sexual act and sending an indecent or offensive communication.

March 2017

Plymouth man groomed and had sexual activity with girls as young as 12

A Plymouth man has been jailed after he was found guilty of a string of sexual offences against girls as young as 12

Joshua Sean Parker, 20, of Sutton Court, in Devonport was charged with a series of offences which included the rape of a child aged under 16.

However, he was finally convicted of eight serious sexual offences

  • Three counts of sexual activity with a child 

  • Sexual assault by touching

  • Causing a child to watch a sexual act

  • Attempting to cause a child to watch a sex act

  • Malicious communications – Sexual harassment – sending explicit images to girls as young as 12

Today, Parker was sentenced to a total of six years and four months at Plymouth Crown Court 

The court was told that Parker had set up a Facebook account under a fake name and that he had added almost 400 schoolgirls, who were all aged under 16 years old.

It was from this account that he messaged and groomed many young girls for his own sexual gratification.

However, Parker was caught after he contacted a 12-year-old girl via Face-time. When the child answered the call, she found him masturbating on camera. The call lasted for around 20 seconds.

The child was shocked and scared and told her dad who in turn called the police.

Over the next few days, Parker continued to send messages of a sexual nature to the young girl. 

When the police investigated those crimes, they discovered Parker had groomed almost 50 other young girls via Facebook.

The police also learnt that he had met some of the girls and had sexual activity with them.

Other evidence suggested that Parker had threatened several young girls into silence, by saying he would post lies about them online

Turning to the messages he sent to the other three girls, he added: “You lied about your age when it suited you. Your behaviour was indecent, obnoxious and persistent.”

The judge added that he could not speculate what would have happened of parents or older siblings had not “cut the lines of communication”.

Parker targeted girls living in Plymouth, Devon and Cornwall, all areas to which he could easily travel.

Parker, of Sutton Court, Devonport, pleaded guilty to two counts of sexual activity with children – one charge covering multiple incidents.

He also admitted causing a child to watch a sexual act and one count of attempting to cause a child to watch a sexual act.

Parker finally pleaded guilty to a single count of sending an indecent electronic communication.

Lee Bremridge, for the Crown Prosecution Service, said police received reports from several girls early last year that a man was sending indecent pictures of himself and sexually explicit messages.

He added officers traced them to different false accounts but they linked them to Parker’s address, where he lived with his then-partner. Parker was arrested in October.

Mr Bremridge said Parker contacted a girl on Facebook in February last year. He added the defendant knew the girl was underage but they started talking and met in a park.

Mr Bremridge said the girl initially “felt pressured” into sex the first time. The court heard that there was at least three other occasions over two months.

Summarising a statement she later gave police, he said: “She said she used to be outgoing and confident in terms of how she approached life but that changed. She started to draw into herself.

“She became more isolated from her friends and she continues to have nightmares and flashbacks about their relationship.”

Mr Bremridge said Parker told a 14-year-old girl over Facebook that he was in Year 11, which would have made him a similar age. The court heard he later confessed he was 19.

The barrister said he touched her sexually under her clothes and she broke off contact.

Mr Bremridge said Parker contacted the other three victims over Facebook and sent them explicit messages. He also sent one picture of himself performing an indecent act.

A second similar picture sent to another girl was actually seen by an older sibling she had called to the computer – hence the attempt offence.