March 2018

Yeovil man persuaded Bristol girl with learning difficulties to send him naked pictures

A registered sex offender from Yeovil who persuaded a teenage girl with learning difficulties to send him naked pictures of herself has escaped being sent to prison.

Simon David Godfrey’s 18-year-old victim was left feeling “ashamed and insecure” about her body because of his actions.

Godfrey enticed his victim, who is from Bristol, to form a relationship with him after chatting to her online, but became more needy and controlling as time went on.

When she refused to meet up with him in person he sent her threatening messages saying he would get girls he knew to beat her up.

He said if she didn’t send him a naked picture of herself he would come to her college and she would “see the nasty side” of him, a court was told.

When she did as he asked he responded by sending her a picture of his penis which left her feeling terrified.

She suffered from sleepless nights and had bad dreams and said she felt she could no longer trust people.

Godfrey, 26, of West Hendford, pleaded guilty to a charge that between August 1 and 28 last year at Bristol he sent by means of a public electronic communications network a message that was grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene and menacing character.

Prosecutor Emma Lenanton said that the victim was on her Facebook account when she received a message from the defendant and started talking to him over Messenger.

Godfrey quickly assumed that they were in a relationship and after contacting her over Facebook Messenger for a while he became more needy and aggressive and wanted to meet her in Bristol.

“When she refused he began sending threatening messages saying he would get girls he knew in Bristol to go to her college,” she said.

“He then said that if she didn’t send him a naked picture of herself he would attend her college and she would see the nasty side of him.

“She was scared and took a nude photo of herself and sent it to him and he returned a picture of his penis to her which made her feel extremely scared and frightened.”

Miss Lenanton said the victim had learning difficulties and was deemed by police to be a vulnerable person as her learning age was significantly below her actual age.

In a statement made by the girl which was read to the court she said she felt that Godfrey had sent her the message because of her learning difficulties and said it had made her feel down and had affected her time at college because she didn’t talk to anyone.

She said: “It has made me feel ashamed because it has made me insecure about my body and I have sleepless nights, am really tired and have bad dreams which make me wake up and feel really scared.

“I can’t trust people now because of what he has done in case it happens again and I tried to ignore the messages but I couldn’t get away from him.

“He was controlling and made me feel I had to stay in the house and talk to him and I couldn’t get any fresh air and didn’t have my social life.”

She added that she didn’t talk to her friends as much any more and was scared as Godfrey had threatened to come to her college and she thought he was going to tell all her friends.

“I was terrified of him because of what has happened and it has been really hard,” she said.

Defending solicitor Neil Priest said that Godfrey had been totally compliant with his previous court order and had already completed the Thames Valley Sex Offenders Programme.

“He continues to engage with the Probation Service and has said he wishes to change his behaviour, however a pre-sentence report says he requires further intervention, and his behaviour in this case is indicative of that,” he said.

“This young man has clearly had difficulties with rejection and has felt desperate for attention in a relationship, and with any signs of rejection then he shows anger and has acted inappropriately.

“The Probation Service has recognised that these emotional responses are wrong, and he has said he wants to address his problems in the right way.”

The magistrates told Godfrey he had significant previous convictions and sentenced him to 12 weeks in custody, suspended for the next 18 months, and said he must keep out of trouble during that time or would be sent to prison. He was also ordered to pay £85 costs and a £115 victim surcharge.