July 2010

Litherland man sent obscene image of boy being abused

A MAN who sent an obscene image of a young boy being sexually abused to someone he met on a gay dating website has been spared prison.

Richard Thomas, 22, even claimed he could arrange a meeting with the young boy, after telling the man he was interested in children as young as 10.

But Thomas was caught after the man went to police, who raided his Litherland home.

In interview, Thomas insisted he had no interest in children and said his claims he knew the young victim and his dad were “pure fantasy”.

Judge David Swift said: “This offence involves in the final analysis the abusive treatment of youngsters and those who possess images of this sort and pass them on encourage the continuance of this sort of activity.”

But the judge added that the “long-term interests of the community” would be best served by Thomas getting help to address his underlying problems.

Judge Swift sentenced Thomas to a three-year community order with supervision and ordered him to attend the Northumbria sex offender programme.

He also ordered Thomas to sign the sex offenders’ register for five years and imposed a sexual offenders’ prevention order which restricts his use of the internet.

Simon Duncan, prosecuting, told the court Thomas had begun chatting on the Gaydar website in the months before his actions were reported.

This led to a sexual encounter at his home.

But in the wake of the meeting, Thomas emailed the man he had met, speaking of his interest in young boys.

He then emailed the man a thumbnail picture of a boy, aged about 10, being abused, claiming it was a boy from Maghull who was being attacked by his dad.

Thomas, of Pennington Road, then claimed he could arrange for the man to see the boy that night.

After his home was raided, Thomas admitted one charge of distributing indecent images and seven of possessing them.

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