July 2017

Online Middlesbrough sex offender who claimed it was “just banter” pleads guilty to new charge

AN online sex offender claimed it was “just banter” as he groomed a 12-year-old girl, a court heard.

Neil Walton, 47, was today (Tuesday July 25) due to stand trial for arranging the commission of a child sex offence.

At at an earlier hearing at Teesside Crown Court, the Middlesbrough man pleaded not guilty to the charge.

When asked what his defence would be, his lawyer said Walton was insisting it had been “just banter”.

After legal discussions, a new charge of inciting a child to engage in sexual activity replaced the original.

Walton, of Carisbrooke Avenue, admitted the new charge, and his case was adjourned until September 7.

Judge Simon Bourne-Arton, QC, granted bail, and told Walton he must sign on the sex offenders’ register.