July 2018

Sex offender sent ‘disgusting’ photographs to ‘girls aged 13 and 14’ and told them he wanted to have sex with them

A man has been given a suspended jail sentence after sending explicit messages to who he thought were girls aged 13 and 14, telling them he wanted to have sex with them.

In the weeks before the incident, Steven Morris had spent a number of weeks sending sexually explicit messages and photographs to who he thought were girls aged 13 and 14.

But he was actually communicating with two adult woman in Swansea, acting as paedophile hunters.

A judge told Morris he had lost his previous good character and brought shame upon himself and his family.

Swansea Crown Court heard that in November last year, 55-year-old Morris met what he thought were two young girls on a social media site.

Prosecutor Ian Wright said after initial contact was made, the communication “soon became sexual” and Morris started sending explicit messages to the girls, along with photographs of his genitals and a video of him performing a sex act on himself.

The court heard the social media profiles of the girls were fakes – referred to as “decoys” – and had been set up by Swansea paedophile hunters.

Mr Wright said Morris continued to communicate with the decoy profiles over a number of weeks and told them he wanted sex with them despite being told of their ages.

In the case of one of the decoys, the court heard Morris told her he would wear a condom so she would not get pregnant. He also asked one of them if he could have sex with her and her mother, the court was told

The prosecutor said that on December 5 last year, Morris went to Fendrod lake in Swansea Enterprise Zone where he was approached by “members of the vigilante group”.

The defendant drove off – colliding with one of the group as he did so – but later that same day the paedophile hunters called him on his mobile phone, and he agreed to meet them in the centre of Swansea.

Morris was subsequently detained by the group, and police were called.

The court heard that when police searched Morris’ phone, they found sexually explicit communications between the defendant and what appeared to be a 13-year-old girl, including a topless photo sent by the teen. The girl has not been identified, and the court was told it is not known if she was another “decoy” profile from another paedophile hunter group.

Morris, of Gowerton Road, Penclawdd, Gower, pleaded guilty to two counts of inciting a child to perform a sex act, one count of attempting to incite a child to perform a sex act, and one count of possession of an indecent image – the topless photo of the teen – when he appeared in court for sentencing.

Recorder Paul Hopkins QC told Morris he had embarked on a course of “planned, predatory and grooming” behaviour with the decoy profiles.

He said the defendant had sent explicit messages and “disgusting photographs” to who he thought had been young girls, and had brought shame upon himself and his family.

For each of the inciting and attempting to incite offences, Morris was sentenced to 14 months in prison, and was sentenced to three months for the possession of the indecent image.

All sentences will run concurrently, making a total of 14 months, with the overall sentence being suspended for two years.

Morris will be on the sex offenders register for 10 years, and was made the subject of sexual harm prevention order for the next five years to limit his contact with children and control his access to the internet.