February 2018

Teenager performed sex act over webcam to 12-year-old girl

A teenager has avoided prison after performing a sex act on himself in a video call with a 12-year-old girl.

Winchester Crown Court heard how Lewis Howcroft, 19, had been speaking with the victim, who cannot be named for legal reasons, over video calling service Skype and had also been searching for illegal material online before being found out by police.

Howcroft, of Northington Down, near Alresford, claimed the victim had asked to see him performing the sex act over Skype, and had initially declined, however this had not been proven.

Howcroft was caught out when the victim’s parents found messages on their daughter’s phone, and then contacted police.

He pleaded guilty to causing a child to watch an image of a person engaging in sexual activity

Prosecuting, Colin Meeke said there was evidence of “highly sexualised” chat logs with the girl.

“What is abundantly clear is he knew how young she was, there is evidence of some grooming.

“He did not seek to deny the matters.”

Howcroft, who was 18 at the time of the incident in November 2016, was sentenced to a three-year community order, with a 60-day rehabilitation requirement and 100 hours of unpaid work.