February 2018

Security guard avoids jail after being caught out by paedophile hunters

A pervert who engaged in revoltingly explicit sexual chat with someone he thought was a 14-year-old child avoided a prison sentence today.

Steven Ockleshaw, 25, from Kirkby, began sending messages to the teenage girl – using both WhatsApp and a chat forum called ‘The Skout’ – which became increasingly sexual in nature.

Unbeknown to him, he was in fact talking to a member of a group called Net Justice, who describe themselves as “child protection enforcers”.

Around four members of the group then confronted Ockleshaw on his doorstep in Ormonde Crescent, revealing that he had in fact been communicating with them and not a child, and then reported him to police.

Ockleshaw was subsequently charged with engaging in sexual communication with a child, to which he pleaded guilty.

David Polglase, prosecuting, told Liverpool Crown Court that the messages Ockleshaw was sending to the “under-age girl” became increasingly sexual in nature, including asking her to send him explicit photos.

He said: “A group from Net Justice, who were masquerading as the girl, turned up on the defendant’s doorstep on the pretext of buying a motorbike from him.

“He was then reported to police.”

Ken Heckle, defending, said Ockleshaw had been drinking heavily at the time he committed the offences.

He said: “He accepts his behaviour was disgusting. He is not able to tell the court what was behind it, but he wants help for it.”

Mr Heckle added that Ockleshaw had lost his job as a security guard as a result of the offences, had had to move house, and now only has supervised contact with his two young sons.

Judge David Aubrey QC told Ockleshaw: “You believed you were communicating with a 14-year-old child, and the conversations were sexually explicit.

“Little did you know that in actual fact you were not communicating with a child, and any harm you potentially would have caused was removed in consequence of that.

“It shows you had an unhealthy interest in either a child or children, or most certainly an unhealthy interest in communicating in the manner in which you were.”

He sentenced Ockleshaw to 12 months’ in prison, suspended for two years, and also placed him on the sex offenders’ register for 10 years.

 

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