November 2018

‘I haven’t harmed her in any way…’ – What ‘bored’ sex offender told police after picture of girl, 11, found on his phone

Sex offender David Jones breached a court order – after downloading a photograph of an 11-year-old girl on his phone.

The 54-year-old was already subject to a 10-year Sexual Offences Prevention Order (SOPO) which stops him accessing the internet expect for work.

It was imposed in 2010 after Jones performed a sex act on himself while in contact with an 11-year-old girl via webcam.

But an officer from Staffordshire Police’s sex offender management unit visited the defendant at his Hanley home last month and found a mobile phone and charger.

It was examined and the internet search history had been deleted except for the previous day.

Now jobless Jones – who spent five weeks in custody after his arrest – has been sentenced to a two-year community order at Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court.

Prosecutor David Bennett told Stoke-on-Trent Crown Court: “He was asked if he had any device capable of accessing or connecting to the internet.

He told police he did not.

A search was conducted and a mobile phone and charger were recovered.

A cursory examination suggested the internet search history had been deleted save for the previous day.

“When the police located the phone he accepted he had owned it for 12 months. There was a photograph of a small child on the phone, aged 11, wearing a skirt and tights.

“The defendant immediately said, ‘I just said hello to the child and have not harmed her in any way’.

“The defendant accepted deleting data from his mobile phone.”

In his police interview, the defendant said he used the internet to communicate with people because he was sat at home and bored.

He said he would not have any logs of the people he had been communicating with.

He had arranged for people to attend his address but none had attended.

He said he had no idea who the child was on his phone and he must have accidentally downloaded it.

Jones, of Chatham Street, Hanley, pleaded guilty to breaching the SOPO between January 1, 2018 and October 2.

Hamish Noble, mitigating, said the defendant’s conversation with the girl went no further than ‘hello’.

He said: “He is an isolated individual. He lives on his own. He does not have a partner. He is not in work.”

As part of the community order Jones must complete 150 hours unpaid work, an accredited programme for 60 days and a rehabilitation activity requirement for 25 days.

Recorder Baz Bhatia told Jones: “You complied with the court order for the best part of seven years.

But over the period of about 10 months you had access to and used a mobile phone to access the internet.

You had been deleting your visits to chat lines on a regular basis.”